Who Do Israelis Want to See as Their Next Ministers?

Likud has swung back into public favor, according to the latest pre-elections poll – just hours after a conflicting poll indicated otherwise. 

Likud is on top with 24 seats, according to the TNS Institute poll for Walla! News, edging past Labor at 23. 

Jewish Home is once again in third place with 13 seats, followed by the Arab parties and Yesh Atid at 12 seats each. 

Kulanu garners 8 seats in this poll, and the haredi Shas and United Torah Judaism (UTJ) gain seven seats each.

Bottoming out the poll are Yisrael Beytenu, with six seats; Meretz, with four; and Yachad – Ha'am Itanu with four. 

A pact between Likud, Jewish Home, and Yachad – Ha'am Itanu would have 41 seats for a coalition, according to this set of results, opposed to just 39 seats for a pact between Labor, Yesh Atid, and Meretz. A majority of 61 are needed for a coalition.

Both the top party and the coalition projections are nearly mirror opposites of a Ma'ariv poll published hours earlier Friday, which then predicted Labor with 24 seats and Likud with just 22 – and a victory for a leftist coalition by almost exactly the same margin. 

Who's the best for the role?

Walla!'s poll also asked respondents who would be the most suitable candidate for prime minister – and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is still a fan favorite.

A full 48% of respondents chose Netanyahu over other candidates, versus 26% who chose Labor leader Yitzhak Herzog. Another 26% remains undecided or chose neither candidate. 

Respondents were also asked who they would like to see as Defense Minister, and 29.4% of Israelis chose Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon to serve another term; 15.6% preferred Labor candidate and former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin; and 12.9% chose IDF Gen. Yoav Galant (Kulanu).

Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett is in fourth place for the role with 11.9%; among Jewish Home voters, he was the first choice, but not by much – 28.1% of self-identified Jewish Home voters preferred Bennett, but 27.7% preferred Ya'alon. 

Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Liberman bottomed out the Defense Ministry poll by far, at just 6.9%. 

Kulanu Chairman Moshe Kahlon is, meanwhile, the public's first choice for Finance Minister, with 33.7% of respondents naming him as the most suitable candidate for the post; 16.5% chose Labor candidate and economics professor Manuel Trajtenberg, and just 12.7% prefer former Finance Minister Yair Lapid. 

Bottoming out the poll are Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) with 9.3%, and Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri with just 4.8% of public support for the role. 

In terms of the next Foreign Minister, a surprising majority prefer Hatnua chairwoman Tzipi Livni, with some 24% of respondents' support.

Likud's Gilad Erdan, who is expected to become Israel's next ambassador to the US, came in second place with 17.9%, followed by 16% for the current Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liberman. Meanwhile 13.9% prefer Yair Lapid as foreign minister; bottoming out the poll is Kulanu candidate and former ambassador Michael Oren, with 6.7% support. 

The TNS poll surveyed 500 people from differing backgrounds, religious affiliations, and locations across Israel for the poll. The margin of error is +/- 4.5%. 

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/191614

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