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Netanyahu's party falls behind in opinion polls

February 17, 2014 at 1:50 am

The latest opinion poll in Israel suggests that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party will lose five seats to new party “Jewish Home”, Haaretz newspaper said on Wednesday. The new party is headed by Naftali Bennett and would be expected to win 14 seats, the poll indicated, making it the third largest party in the Knesset.

Conducted by the Dialogue Institute at Tel-Aviv University, for Haaretz, the poll shows that the Likud-Yisrael Beiteinau coalition could win 34 seats in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. that’s five fewer than shown by an identical poll conducted one month ago.

However, if, as expected, Netanyahu forms a broader coalition with other extreme right-wing and religious parties, he can expect to command 67 seats. The centre-left bloc, according to the poll, would win 53 seats, with little change between Tzipi Livni’s party and Yair Lapid’s. The Labour Party would lose one seat, leaving it with 16, making it the second largest in parliament, although Haaretz noted that given current trends, the Jewish Home party could possibly replace Labour in that position.

Arab parties are predicted by the poll to win a total of 12 seats. According to Haaretz the potential increase in the number of Arab MKs is attributed to the incitement campaigns against them, especially against current Knesset member Haneen Zoabi. “That has increased the number of Arabs who say that they will vote in the general election,” the newspaper said.