Polls predict Benjamin Netanyahu just shy of victory
A deadlocked election could mean Israel would go to the polls again within months
By News Desk - October 29 2022

Benjamin Netanyahu at a Likud faction meeting, 24 December 2018. (Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly retains a small advantage over his rivals in polls leading up to the 1 November election.

The latest polls gives 61 seats to the bloc of far-right allies, which would back Netanyahu’s return to the head of government and just enough for a majority of Israel’s 120-seat Parliament, Alarabiya News reported.

The opposing bloc, led by the current Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, would obtain 56 seats, and his party would reach 27 deputies, the highest number in the entire campaign, and well above its result in the last elections of March 2021, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Although the rise of the Religious Zionism movement — increasingly leaning to the extreme right with racist, anti-Arab and homophobic positions — strengthens the pro-Netanyahu bloc, as the polls confirm its rapid rise, with 14 seats almost assured, according to Alarabiya News.

The return of Netanyahu to power marks the rise of the most extreme far-right and openly racist coalition.

“If Netanyahu wins, it will be very dangerous for democracy and the rule of law,” notes Gayil Talshir, a political scientist at the Hebrew University, speaking on the former premier’s alliance with the ultra-right and his pending court cases for corruption – breach of trust, bribery and fraud, according to EFE.

On 24 August, Netanyahu called for a union of the Otzma Yehudit and Religious Zionism parties with his Likud party.

In a video posted on social media, the former prime minister urged the leaders of both far-right Israeli parties, Itamar Ben Gvir and Betzalel Smotrich, to rekindle their alliance and join him.

Despite the calls for unity, Israeli media has suggested that the former prime minister is only interested in aligning himself with the two leaders out of fear that their political rivalry may affect his votes.

Following Netanyahu’s words, Ben Gvir softened his stance and urged Smotrich to follow the call of the former prime minister.

Ben-Gvir is notorious for his extremist rhetoric, as well as his support for violent settler groups who regularly storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque and desecrate its grounds, something that he himself has taken part in personally under protection from Israeli police.

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