With one week before Israelis go to the polls, a survey conducted by the Maariv newspaper and Walla website found that opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu will be able to form a governing coalition, with a 61-seat majority.
The poll, published on Monday, shows that Netanyahu can form a parliamentary coalition with his own Likud party, the far-right Religious Zionism and the two ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism.
According to the poll, the current government coalition led by Prime Minister Yair Lapid would only receive 55 seats. Lapid’s Yesh Atid party is coming in second to Netanyahu’s Likud party with 23 seats, the poll says, compared to Likud's 32.
Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism party surged ahead, collecting 14 seats to become Israel’s third largest party, while Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz’ centrist National Unity received 12 seats.
Shas and United Torah Judaism would earn eight and seven seats, respectively. Israel Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman’s party, Yisrael Beytenu, would receive six seats. Left-wing parties Labor and Meretz would get five seats each; and the Arab parties Hadash-Ta’al and Ra’am would get four seats each. A third Arab party called Balad and Israel’s Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked’s party, Jewish Home, would both fail to reach the threshold.
The Maariv poll is considered an outlier, as other polls have shown that Israel’s political deadlock is expected to continue after the vote, with neither side able to form a majority-ruling government.
A Channel 12 News survey published eight days before the vote, found that the Netanyahu bloc would only get 60 seats, falling one seat short of forming a majority government. The poll gave 56 seats to the parties comprising the current Lapid-led government.
Israel’s KAN Bet public radio showed similar results, with Netanyahu’s Likud only winning 31 seats and Lapid’s Yesh Atid winning 24.
Israel will face its fifth election in less than four years on Nov. 1. The nation's political landscape has shown consistent instability, in part because of the Likud party’s failure to form a government despite receiving the most mandates.
Most Israeli citizens abroad are not allowed to vote remotely. However, more than 4,500 diplomats and Jewish Agency emissaries that are deployed around the world can vote abroad and have already cast their ballots this week.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.