According to recent polls (taken, one should note, before the fighting with Gaza resumed on Tuesday), the Likud would lose eight Knesset seats if an election were held tomorrow, while the other parties in Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition would lose another three or four. Conventional wisdom reasonably assumes that the stalled attempt at judicial reform, and the social unrest it brought about, are responsible for this shift. Yet, argues Michel Gurfinkiel, it is not Yair Lapid—who emerged as the leader of the anti-judicial-reform protests—and his secularist, center-left Yesh Atid party, who stand to gain from the prime minister’s loss:
The true winner is the right-of-center National Unity party, led by a former [IDF] chief-of-staff and defense minister, Benny Gantz, which rose to a projected 29 seats from twelve seats last November. That turns it into the opposition’s main group, well ahead of Yesh Atid.
For those in Likud who were losing faith in Mr. Netanyahu’s political wizardry, and those who, whatever their background, were concerned by a potential disruption of the economy or the army [during the protests], the former chief-of-staff looked like the only alternative, especially against Mr. Lapid.
Most of the conservative voters who helped Mr. Gantz to emerge over the past weeks would probably desert him if he again enters in a coalition with Mr. Lapid and the far left, as he did in the past. Conversely, his core supporters, who granted him twelve seats in 2022, are weary of an alliance with Mr. Netanyahu. The way out might be, ideally, a national-emergency government led on equal footing by both Likud and National Unity.