Race-Based Campaigning Seen Hurting Shas
With 120 seats in the Israeli Knesset and the combination of Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu making coalitions more difficult, the group hoped to surge from its dominant projections of 40 seats to create a near majority in and of itself.
The reality has been anything but, however, as the Likud-Beiteinu list has been slipping slowly but steadily every week in the polls, and is now down to 34 seats, leaving no clear path to government.
Jewish Home (Habayit Hayehudi) continues to see its fortunes improve, and is now in the same 14-16 seat range as Labor, the consensus “number two” party for most analysts. This surge in the even-farther-right has forced Likud-Beiteinu to defend itself not only from charges of being far-right sociopaths, but also of charges of being insufficiently far-right in their sociopathy.
The other party slipping along with Likud-Beitenu is Shas, which in the latest polls is down to 11 seats. Israeli analysts see the slide as a result of race-based campaigning, and even though Shas did eventually scrap the “get rid of all the Africans” video, their condemnation of Likud-Beitenu as a party for “the Russians and the whites” is leaving a lot of undecideds with a bad taste in their mouths, particularly those who were looking for an alternative to Likud after the merger.
A surprise gainer in the new poll is Balad, which was looking like a “threshold” party before the failed attempt to ban MP Hanin Zuabi brought them renewed support. They are now polling at four seats, and could see Israeli Arab parties getting 12 seats total.
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