Bibi in Serious Trouble with Only Days to Go Until Election
The numbers in this last week of polls before the ultimate poll, the general election, are quite stark:
The actual polls summarized here show HaMachane haTziyoni fluctuating between 24-25 seats, but Likud is stubbornly stuck at 21 for the week in all major polls; the United Arab List has shown signs of weakening slightly, fluctuating between 12 and 13 (though the preponderance is still 13). Kulanu appears to be surging ahead; Yachad seems to be winning the nationalist ideology wars with HaBayit haYehudi; and the scandal-ridden Yisrael Beytenu sinks ever lower in the polls.
It is still very hard to see how the Left builds a viable coalition out of all this. The natural allies of HaMachane haTziyoni are Yesh Atid and Meretz; with the above numbers, that gives them a total of 43 seats. It is getting beyond that number that is the challenge. Obviously, none of the nationalistic parties will join; the Arab List has been issuing categorical statements that it will not join any coalition (the name of the new center-Left party, HaMachane haTziyoni (“The Zionist Camp”), designed to appeal to Jewish voters, is a serious symbolic problem for the Arabs), but even if they did, that would only get them to 56 seats.
Probably none of the remaining parties would join a coalition with the United Arab List. If we go back to the original core of 43, it is possible that Kulanu might join, raising the total to 53, and perhaps even Yisrael Beytenu (which has a vote-sharing agreement with Kulanu), adding 4 more, but none of the religious parties will have anything to do with Ya’ir Lapid’s Yesh Atid (Shas and Yahadut haTorah have an agreement to vote as a bloc, and Rabbi Ya’akov Litzman, chairman of Yahadut haTorah, has said adamantly that there are no circumstances under which they will join a coalition with Yesh Atid).
A coalition of the Right is still just barely possible. Likud’s natural ally is HaBayit haYehudi, yielding 32 seats. Add to this number Kulanu (10), Shas (7), Yahadut haTorah (6), and we arrive at 55. If (as is widely expected) Yachad splits over willingness to join a coalition, at least 3 of its 5 seats would join, yielding 58; add Yisrael Beytenu’s 4, and a coalition with 62 seats emerges.