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March 5, 2019 4:34 pm

New Israeli Poll Shows Right-Wing Bloc Still Ahead After Netanyahu Indictment Announcement

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a statement to the media in Tel Aviv, Feb. 21, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad / File.

A new poll shows that if Israeli elections were held today, the right-wing bloc would still come out ahead of the center-left opposition, allowing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a narrow rightist government.

According to the poll conducted by Hebrew news site Walla, the right-wing bloc would control 61 seats in the next Knesset, with the left-wing bloc receiving 59 — insufficient for a governing coalition.

The poll showed the centrist party Blue and White, led by former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, coming in first with 36 seats, versus 31 for Netanyahu’s Likud party.

Blue and White’s natural coalition partners, however, fared less well, with the Labor party receiving eight seats, Meretz six, and the Arab bloc — which refuses to sit in coalitions but would likely recommend Blue and White to the president as the party most suited to form a government — with nine.

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Netanyahu’s rightist allies in the Union of Right-Wing Parties would receive seven seats, while the New Right and the more moderate Kulanu would each win six.

In addition, the ultra-Orthodox parties, who are likely to endorse Netanyahu, would win eleven seats in total.

The poll results indicate that Netanyahu’s political support remains stable despite the aura of scandal that has surrounded him since the attorney general announced his intention to indict the prime minister on corruption charges.

In another, if less scientific, poll, results were better for the center-left. Students at Blich High School in Ramat Gan cast their votes for the various parties on Monday, and handed Blue and White a lopsided victory.

Blich High School is legendary in Israel for its often-uncanny ability to predict the outcome of Israeli elections. In both the famous 1977 election in which Menachem Begin’s Likud took power for the first time, and the 1992 elections in which Labor returned to power under Yitzhak Rabin, Blich’s student elections proved prophetic.

According to the Hebrew news site Mako, Blich students gave Blue and White 47 percent of their votes, while Likud came in second with 20 percent.

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