If Israeli elections were to be held today, they would result in a drastic government shakeup, but Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s Likud party would remain at the top of the heap, according to a poll published today.
Professor Yitzchok Katz of Maagar Mochot research institute conducted the poll for Channel 10 amid reports of a major rift brewing in the governing coalition between Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid over the 2015 budget that could result in Lapid’s Yesh Atid party – and its 19 Knesset seats – bolting the coalition.
According to the survey results, Likud would garner 26 seats, which would be five seats less than it won in 2012 when it ran on a joint ticket with Yisrael Beytenu, but still comfortably ahead of the poll’s predicted biggest winner – Bayit Yehudi, Katz told Channel 10.
The poll had Economy Minister Naftali Bennett’s party gaining four seats, bringing its total to 16 and making it the second largest party in the Knesset, followed by Yisrael Beytenu with 14 seats, up three from today, and Labor with 13.
Yesh Atid would be the biggest loser in new elections, falling from second place to fifth. in the Knesset with only eight seats – down 11 seats from its current representation.
Last week, the finance minister threatened to pull out of the coalition if taxes were raised to cover the costs of the 50-day conflict in Gaza over the summer, estimated at $2.5 billion. Lapid has been pushing instead to increase the deficit cap to 3.5% of the GDP in the 2015 budget to cover the defense spending.
Bank of Israel head Karnit Flug, Netanyahu, and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett have all publicly opposed Lapid’s proposal.
Read more: The Times of Israel