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Poll shows Gantz maintaining post-speech bounce, but Likud stays on top

Benny Gantz, former Israeli military chief of staff Benny Gantz in Tel Aviv on 29 January 2019 [Amir Levy/Getty Images]
Benny Gantz, former Israeli military chief of staff and presidential candidate in Tel Aviv on 29 January 2019 [Amir Levy/Getty Images]

A new poll by Israeli newspaper Haaretz shows that Benny Gantz has maintained the bounce that followed his maiden speech, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains in front.

According to the paper, “the ‘Gantz effect’ seems not to be fading, but neither is it gathering speed with two months to go before the election”.

The poll shows Gantz’s party Israel Resilience (Hosen L’Yisrael) gaining 22 Knesset seats, behind Likud on 30 seats.

The report noted that Netanyahu “would of course be willing to accept this outcome, in which his current coalition” – including Yisrael Beitenu – “numbers 64 MKs of 120 total seats, without Orli Levi-Abekasis’ Gesher (still at four seats, just above the voter threshold)”.

READ: Gantz gains ground after inaugural campaign speech

Haaretz said Hosen L’Yisrael “has not significantly dented Likud’s or other right-wing parties’ support at the district level” – at least “not to a point where it poses a risk to a fifth term for Netanyahu”.

For now, the newspaper elaborated, “Netanyahu’s nightmare scenario, in which one or two of the parties that are “natural partners” don’t make it past the voter threshold, does not seem to be coming true – for the moment”; all have five seats, including Jewish Home.

For the so-called “centre-left bloc”, Haaretz added, “the picture is less optimistic”: Hosen L’Yisrael, together with Labour (five seats), Yesh Atid (nine) and Meretz (five) only totals 40 seats.

Modest Netanyahu – “I am ready to leave my position tomorrow as prime minister, but I have no one to leave the keys with” – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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