The Times of Israel: A majority of Israelis would endorse the party they voted for in the election joining a coalition led by the Blue and White party, according to a survey released Sunday.
President Reuven Rivlin last month tasked Blue and White party chairman Benny Gantz with attempting to form a coalition after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed in the wake of the September elections, but his chances of doing so are seen as even slimmer.
According to the poll, 62% of Israelis favor the party that they voted for joining a coalition under Gantz. And among them, nearly half of right-wing voters support such a move.
The survey found that 48% of Likud voters approve and so do 49% of the erstwhile Yamina party, which has split into several factions following the vote.
Support for joining with Blue and White was significantly lower among the ultra-Orthodox parties, presumably because of Blue and White number two Yair Lapid’s strong secular rights history.
Both Blue and White and the secular right-wing Yisrael Beytenu party have called for a unity government with Likud, but without the other ultra-Orthodox and hard-right parties. Likud has refused to negotiate outside of Netanyahu’s 55-strong bloc of supporters.
The public support for compromise and joining a Blue and White government is largely due to the aversion of a third election.
The survey found that 53 % would prefer to see a unity government formed. Only 17.5 % want to go to a third vote and 13 percent would support a minority government hat does not enjoy a majority of 61 seats in the Knesset. 17 % were undecided or refused to state their preference.
The survey by the Israel Democracy Institute of 602 respondents was conducted by phone and internet on October 24-29, had a margin of error of 3.7%.
In recent days speculation has focused on the three-person New Right faction possibly breaking with Netanyahu’s bloc of 55.
New Right party leader Naftali Bennett on Sunday warned that the right-wing bloc would suffer a “historic collapse” if a third election is called.
Bennett in recent days has hinted that he is ready to bolt Netanyahu’s 55-strong bloc of supporters for the sake of preventing fresh elections, with both Bennett and media reports floating the options of Netanyahu entering a government without him and vice versa.
Bennett said Saturday that he would be prepared to sit in the opposition if a Likud-Blue and White unity government is formed, telling Channel 12: “If I am an obstacle to forming a government, I release Netanyahu from any commitment to me and to the New Right and am ready to sit in the opposition. The main thing is to get a government established.”
Blue and White leaders have claimed the premier’s bloc is preventing them from forming a government. Netanyahu has insisted on negotiating on behalf of all 55 MKs; Blue and White has said the stance is a transparent ruse to ensure Gantz cannot form a government, dooming Israel to yet another election.
Negotiations between Likud and Gantz’s party have also snagged over Blue and White’s insistence it cannot support a Netanyahu premiership so long as he is suspected in three criminal cases — and may well be charged in them soon.