Four quick notes on Israeli politics:
1. A survey taken by pollster Menachem Lazar revealed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party are still supported by the same number of people today as a month ago. Despite Netanyahu’s trial where he is facing bribery charges, voters did not change their minds during the first day of Netanyahu’s trial on May 24. He is still in a commanding position with 41 projected seats. The second largest party is 26 seats behind.
2. The one losing voters, as expected, is Blue and White’s Benny Gantz. As a junior partner in the Netanyahu government there is little he can do to attract voters. Those supporting the government’s policies can vote for Netanyahu. Those who oppose those policies move leftward to Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid (the poll average shows Lapid still with less seats than Gantz, but in the new polls he has two more seats).
3. Note the opposition and see why it is not an effective opposition.
The Arab Party is the largest in the bloc. It could potentially cooperate with Lapid on some issues, but less so with Lieberman’s Israel Beiteinu, and not at all with right wing Yamina.
Lapid and Lieberman are the real opposition. Their combined strength is a meager 17 seats, and in the last poll it was 20 seats. You cannot surprise and defeat a coalition of 70 with such number.
Yamina is a fluke. Because of ego, personal animosity and miscalculation, this party is not part of the coalition. But the voters who support it want Netanyahu as prime minister and probably want the current coalition to survive unless they become convinced that a right wing-religious coalition can be revived (of which their party will be a member).
So, there is no effective opposition for now. If the new coalition faces trouble, it will be because of internal dynamics, not because of external pressures.
4. It is not always easy to judge what the Israeli public thinks about the annexation plan in Judea and Samaria. Firstly, because the exact plan is still a mystery (for a detailed, dispassionate discussion about annexation, listen to my conversation with Brig. General Mike Herzog). Without information, it is difficult to formulate a firm position. In one January poll, about a third of the public said they have no opinion on this matter. In a survey from last month, about a quarter said they have no opinion. In January, about a third supported annexation. But another survey in the same month, showed that more than half the public supports annexation. In April, again, more than half (of the Jews, but less Arabs), supported annexation.
In many cases, the key is in the framing of the question. Having looked at all the polls regarding annexation from the last year, I was left with little room for doubt: there is a Jewish majority for annexation. It is likely to grow if and when it becomes clear that Israel has U.S. support for annexation.