Four days before the Israeli elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Isaac ‘Buji’ Herzog are fighting over just four seats. A Yedioth Ahronoth poll published today showed Herzog and Tzipi Livni’s center-left Zionist Union party earning 26 Knesset seats, and Benjamin Netanyahu’s center-right Likud party with 22.
The poll had the Arab Joint List in third place with 13 projected seats, setting a precedent for Arab parties. Tied were Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, and Naftali Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi, with 12 seats each. Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu got eight projected seats while Shas, the ultra-Orthodox Sephardic party, got seven and UTJ, the ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi party, got six. Both Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu, which split from Likud last year, and the leftist party Meretz got five seats.
A Walla News survey also published today was more favorable to Netanyahu, showing Herzog and Livni’s Zionist Union party ahead by just two seats, with 25 projected seats over Netanyahu’s 23. Haaretz published a poll showing Herzog ahead by three seats, giving him 24 and Netanyahu 21.
Netanyahu’s Likud party, though, still has a good chance of forming a coalition in the emerging Knesset map. Even if Herzog/Livni win the election, Netanyahu could end up Prime Minister again since he’ll have more backers from parties like Shas, Habayit Hayehudi, and Yachad.
Both Netanyahu and Herzog took to Israeli primetime television last night, telling Channel 2 viewers they would not share the Prime Minister seat in a unity government. “I won’t rotate the premiership,” Netanyahu told Yonit Levy in an interview. “It must be prevented.”
“I don’t intend to rotate the prime ministership with Netanyahu; I intend to replace him,” said Herzog in a separate interview, urging the Israeli public to vote for the Zionist Union. “Netanyahu has acknowledged that he has failed,” he said.