image Photo: Flash90

Major drop in support for Netanyahu

This, amid ongoing domestic turmoil in Israel over controversial judicial reform plans.

By Erin Viner

Backing for the Likud party headed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and its religious-nationalist coalition partners has plunged, meaning an ousting from power due to dramatic combined losses from 64 to just 46 mandates.

According to a poll conducted by Prof. Camil Fuchs for the country’s Channel 13 News published on Sunday, 33% of respondents favor the holding of new elections. 699 Israelis participated in the survey, including 599 Jews and 100 non-Jews, with a 3.7% margin of error.

33% said they want new elections to be called, while only 25% would like Netanyahu’s current government to remain in place. The last national election on 1 November 2022 broke a political deadlock that had seen five elections in less than four years.

If a new ballot was called, the survey shows the Premier’s conservative Likud would lose more than a third of its mandates, plunging from 32 of the Knesset’s 120 seats to just 20 – falling from the first to third-largest party. The findings reflect the worst showing by the party since 2006 when it dropped to its all-time low since its 1973 founding to only 12 mandates.

In addition to the dismal fall of Likud in the polls, the Religious ZionismOtzma Yehudit alliance would drop from 14 to 11, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Shas faction from 11 to 9 and the United Torah Judaism from 6 to 7.

More than two thirds of voters expressed disapproval of the Israeli leader’s conduct since taking office on 29 December 2022. 71% described it as “not good” while just 20% said it was “good.”

Of those identifying themselves as Likud members, only 48% supported Netanyahu’s performance, while 38% did not. Only 43% said they want the current government to remain in place, while 33% said they want new elections.

The center-right National Unity Party led by former Defense Minister Benny Gantz would come in first, surging from 12 to 29 seats. While Yair Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid would come in second, it would nevertheless garner just 21 mandates, 3 less than it currently holds.

Some 33% voiced support for the formation of another unity government led by Gantz and Netanyahu.

“I’m not disturbed by the poll,” Netanyahu told reporters at a press conference yesterday.

It should be noted that the poll was published following an escalation of regional violence, including Palestinian terror attacks that claimed the lives of 4 people in Israel in addition to rocket barrages from Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. A Channel 14 survey last week found that Likud would secure 31 mandates and the ruling coalition would take 58 in total, with 52 going to opposition parties.