Kol Yisrael radio’s political correspondent Yoav Krakowski on Friday said that he believes Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett was the winner of the election debate that aired on Channel 2 News on Thursday evening.
"The big winner is Naftali Bennett who stood at the center of everyone's attacks, he wanted to be the center of everyone's attacks and he knew to deal with all of them," Krakowski said.
Thursday’s debate had featured the leaders of eight parties that are running for the Knesset, though heads of the two largest parties, Likud and Labor, did not attend.
Bennett came under attack from Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, who accused the Jewish Home chairman of allegedly investing disproportional amounts of government money in Judea and Samaria.
Bennett resolutely denied this, adding – as Lapid tried to stare him down – that “the fact that you are doing that with your eyebrows doesn't make it true.”
He also came under fierce attack from Meretz chairwoman Zehava Galon, who accused him of inciting against the left.
Bennett fired back heatedly, noting that the left has made political hay blaming the right for the Rabin murder for 20 years, but that he was serving in Lebanon during the Rabin murder, “protecting you.” Galon tore into Bennett's reply repeatedly.
Meanwhile, Kol Yisrael radio’s weekly election poll, released Friday afternoon, found that the "Zionist Camp" headed by Yitzhak Herzog and Tzipi Livni would win 23 seats if elections were held today, one more than the Likud party.
The joint list of Arab parties is strengthening its power to 13 seats, while Yesh Atid receives 12, up two seats from last week's poll. The Jewish Home receives 12 seats as well.
Eli Yishai's Yachad-Ha'am Itanu party is hovering around the threshold and it is unclear if it could reach the required 130,000 votes (approximate estimate assuming that the percentage of the vote would be similar to the last elections), meaning that 1 out of every 25 voters votes for the party.
The percentage of respondents who said they were undecided as to which party they will vote for now stands at about 15%, the poll found, indicating that a little more than two weeks before the election, nearly one in seven Israelis is still not certain who they will vote for.
A Ma’ariv poll released Friday predicted a clear win for Labor and a struggling Jewish Home.
Labor is in the top spot with 25 seats, according to the poll, ahead of Likud with just 23.
Yesh Atid is in third place in this set of results, with 13 seats, ahead of the Arab parties at 12 and Jewish Home at a mere 11.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)