Israel’s coalition would be more stable if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not heading it, Maariv found in a new election poll published on Friday.
The coalition’s number of seats in the Knesset would grow if Defense Minister Yoav Gallant or Economy Minister Nir Barkat, two Likud members seen as potential successors to Netanyahu, were to replace him as prime minister, the poll found.
If Gallant were to lead the coalition, the Likud would gain three seats from the National Unity party, headed by MK Benny Gantz. However, the faction would not see a net gain of Knesset seats, since in this scenario, three mandates would also be lost to far-right factions Otzma Yehudit and the Religious Zionist Party.
In the scenario that Barkat would take the helm, the Likud would gain two seats off of National Unity and lose only one to National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s faction, a net gain of one seat.
Israeli election poll: Likud continues to slide, coalition in minority
Maariv and Lazar Research, in cooperation with Panel4All, also released a full Knesset mandate poll on Friday amid threats to the coalition’s future over the IDF Draft Law for haredim (ultra-Orthodox) and preparations for a pivotal High Court ruling on the reasonableness law, one that Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana warned this week he would not adhere to.
Likud continues to slide in polls, losing another seat to drop from 27 to 26 if an election were to be held today. Gantz’s National Unity remains in front with 30 seats, one less than 31 gained in Maariv‘s last poll.
Opposition head MK Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party remained the third-largest in the Knesset with 17 seats won, while haredi factions Shas and United Torah Judaism gained 10 and seven each, unchanged from the previous poll.
Elsewhere in the coalition, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich gained one seat up to six while Ben-Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit won four seats in the poll, bringing the coalition to a total minority of 53 seats.
In contrast, the coalition would win 55 seats in the scenarios where Gallant or Barkat are leading the coalition, according to the poll.
Labor, Meretz tussle over left-wing vote
In the opposition, MK Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu remained steady with five seats won, while MK Mansour Abbas’ Ra’am gained one seat up to six and the Arab joint factions Hadash-Ta’al remained on five.
On the Left, Meretz continues to be favored over Labor among voters, winning five seats and usurping Labor’s place in the Knesset, who only won 1.8% of the vote and dropped out, as per the poll.