Israeli Polls Show Netanyahu Party Narrowing Gap Behind Gantz 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz attends a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (AP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz attends a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (AP)
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Israeli Polls Show Netanyahu Party Narrowing Gap Behind Gantz 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz attends a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (AP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz attends a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (AP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right wing Likud party has reduced the gap behind the centrist party of former minister Benny Gantz, who quit the wartime unity government on Sunday, two polls showed on Friday.

The polls, for the left wing Ma'ariv daily and the right-wing Israel Hayom newspaper, showed Likud winning 21 seats behind the National Unity Party on 24. The Ma'ariv poll last week showed Gantz's party on 27 seats, while at the start of the year, it was regularly polling in the high 30s.

The Ma'ariv poll shows the current ruling coalition winning 52 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, against 58 for the main opposition parties, with the balance of 10 seats held by the United Arab List and the left-wing Hadash-Ta'al alliance.

The Israel Hayom poll put the coalition on 50 seats against 61 for the opposition parties and 9 for the UAL and Hadash-Ta'al.

Both polls showed a majority of voters would prefer Gantz as prime minister in a head-to-head choice with Netanyahu. However, the Israel Hayom poll showed that if former prime minister Naftali Bennett were to join forces with Avigdor Liberman and Gideon Saar, two other center right politicians from outside the Likud camp, their alliance could beat both Likud and Gantz's National Unity Party.

Gantz, a former army general and defense minister in the last government, joined Netanyahu's coalition last year as a gesture of national unity following the devastating attack by Hamas on Oct 7.

However, he clashed repeatedly with other ministers and quit the government after demanding Netanyahu articulate a clear strategic plan for the war in Gaza, now in its ninth month.

Netanyahu, who was widely blamed for the security failures that allowed the Oct. 7 attack to take place, has refused to call early elections and would not normally face voters until 2026 if his coalition with a clutch of religious and right-wing pro-settler parties holds.



Plane Crash Near Ohio Airport Kills 3

A view of an exterior of the US Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration in Aurora, Illinois, September 26, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Young
A view of an exterior of the US Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration in Aurora, Illinois, September 26, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Young
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Plane Crash Near Ohio Airport Kills 3

A view of an exterior of the US Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration in Aurora, Illinois, September 26, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Young
A view of an exterior of the US Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration in Aurora, Illinois, September 26, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Young

A plane trying to make an emergency landing at an airport in northeastern Ohio crashed, killing all three people aboard, authorities said.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Saturday that the twin-engine Beechcraft 60 went down near the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Ohio at about 6:45 p.m. Friday.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol post in Trumbull County, which was notified shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday, said the crash just north of the airport killed the pilot and two passengers. The families of the victims have been notified and names are to be released later, an official said.
Anthony Trevena, executive director of the Western Reserve Port Authority, told WKBN-TV that the crash came after an airplane not associated with the air reserve station at the airport came in for an unscheduled emergency landing. A mechanical failure is suspected, the station reported.
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate, the FAA said in a statement.