Israel moving rightwards, poll finds
The latest "Globes"-Smith poll shows Likud-Beteinu and Habayit Hayehudi strengthening, and Labor and Meretz weakening.
The opening shots of the Knesset's winter session, which opens on October 14, will be fired on November 6, when the verdict in Yisrael Beiteinu chairman MK Avigdor Liberman will be handed down. The next three weeks are unlikely to see any major developments, neither diplomatic, political, and apparently not military.
The latest poll finds that, were elections held today, Likud-Beteinu would win 34 seats, up one seat from the previous poll in late August (compared with 31 seats in the January elections). There is no alternative to the Likud, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is managing business quietly: the economy is not in bad shape, the security situation is calm, and no one is challenging his position, not Labor Party chairwoman MK Shelly Yachimovich and certainly not Yesh Atid chairman and Minister of Finance Yair Lapid.
But this is the calm before the storm, and the Liberman verdict could cause shockwaves.
Labor has shed two Knesset seats from the previous poll to 16 seats (it won 15 seats in the elections). If Yachimovich beats MK Isaac Herzog in the upcoming primaries for the party leadership, there will be no change, and Netanyahu can forget about changing his coalition make-up. But if Herzog, who is desperate to influence events from the inside, wins, he and his friends could find themselves in the cabinet.
Yesh Atid is unchanged at 12 Knesset seats. Lapid is in New York, where he received a chilly reception; not only is he no longer Israel's darling any more, he isn't the Diaspora's darling either. Fortunately for him, the budget, which shattered his support, is no longer primetime news, but if his aides don’t change his enthusiasm for the computer and his Facebook password, he will continue to slide.
The "Globes" poll was conducted before the death of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. It found Shas up one seat to 11 Knesset seats. The fact that 850,000 attended Yosef's funeral does not translate into votes; it won 430,000 votes at its peak in 1999, and that will not be repeated. The Rabbi gave Shas its Knesset seats, and its co-chairmen MK Arie Deri and Eli Yishai cannot do it. Shas's real value will emerge as Rabbi Yosef's funeral recedes.
Habayit Hayedudi has gained two Knesset seats from the previous poll, to 15 seats (compared with 12 seats in the elections), and both Meretz and Hatnua are down one seat, to ten and three seats, respectively. Meretz is still doing better than the six Knesset it won in the election, while Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni's Hatnua is down from the six Knesset it won.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 10, 2013
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013
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