Home west asia Polls In Israel Show Netanyahu’s Party Is Narrowing The Gap Behind Gantz

Polls In Israel Show Netanyahu’s Party Is Narrowing The Gap Behind Gantz

Netanyahu, Gantz, Likud polls, centrist
Israeli Minister Benny Gantz addresses the media after his ultimatum to withdraw his centrist party from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's emergency government expired, in Ramat Gan, Israel. REUTERS/Nir Elias

Polls in Israel are showing that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party has reduced the gap behind the centrist party of former minister Benny Gantz. Gantz quit the wartime unity government on Sunday.

The polls showed Likud winning 21 seats behind Gantz’s National Unity Party (NUP)  on 24. The Ma’ariv poll last week showed Gantz’s party on 27 seats. But at the start of the year it was polling in the high 30s.

The Ma’ariv poll shows the current ruling coalition winning 52 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. This is against 58 for the main opposition parties. The balance of 10 seats held by the United Arab List and the left-wing Hadash-Ta’al alliance.

The Israel Hayom poll put the coalition on 50 seats against 61 for the opposition parties and 9 for the UAL and Hadash-Ta’al.

Both polls showed voters prefer Gantz as prime minister over Netanyahu. However, the Israel Hayom poll showed another possibility. If former prime minister Naftali Bennett joined forces with centre-right politicians Avigdor Liberman and Gideon Saar they could beat Likud and the NUP.  These parties are outside the Likud camp.

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Gantz, a former army general and defence minister in the last government, joined Netanyahu’s coalition last year as a gesture of national unity.

However, he clashed repeatedly with other ministers and quit the government. This was after he demanded Netanyahu articulate a clear strategic plan for the war in Gaza.

Netanyahu has been widely blamed for the security failures that allowed the Oct. 7 attack to take place. He has refused to call early elections so. He will not face voters until 2026 if his coalition with religious and right-wing pro-settler parties holds.

With inputs from Reuters