Netanyahu Polling Likud Members over Renewed West Bank Freeze

Thousands of Likud party members received an automated phone call today from pollsters working with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu. Among other questions asked in the poll, was this one: “Would you consider shifting your support to another candidate if the [West Bank] building freeze were extended for 60 days?”

The poll focused exclusively on Likud party members, meaning those Israeli citizens who filled out a Likud party registration form and pay party dues amounting to 64 shekels a year. there are currently around 100,000 voting Likud party members in the Jewish State.

The fact that Netanyahu only focused on internal party members and not voters in general speaks to the possibility that he is worried that an extension of the settlement freeze would cause his coalition to collapse, thereby triggering internal Likud elections, in which he would run along with several challengers, including past challengers Knesset Member Danny Danon and Jewish Leadership faction head Moshe Feiglin. The latter won 24% of the party vote back in 2007, while Danny Danon took just over 3%.

The poll also indicates that Netanyahu is seriously considering an extension to the freeze, something he repeatedly promised he wouldn’t do. Meanwhile, in Jewish towns across the West Bank, construction is continuing at a feverish pace to get foundations down before a new possible freeze takes effect, at which point construction could continue even if a new freeze were to be instated.

Whether Netanyahu’s coalition would even survive another freeze remains to be seen, as well as the possibility of his retaining the leadership of the Likud Party. In the meantime, the automated poll continues.