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Netanyahu Lead Narrows in Israel Poll as Jewish Home Party Gains

Dec. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu party saw its lead trimmed in the latest poll by the Haaretz daily, as the Jewish Home faction, which supports building West Bank settlements, gained.

Likud-Beitenu would win 35 parliamentary seats in today’s Haaretz poll, down four from a survey published by the daily on Dec. 10. Parties likely to support Netanyahu’s efforts to form a new coalition after the Jan. 22 vote would gain more than half of the 120 seats in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.

Among the parties set to support Netanyahu is Jewish Home, which saw its support rise to 13 seats from 11 in the previous poll. The gain comes after Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett said last week he would rather go to jail for insubordination than follow orders as a soldier to evict West Bank settlers, remarks that drew criticism from Netanyahu.

The poll of 491 Israelis has a 4.3 percent margin-of-error, Haaretz said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Calev Ben-David in Jerusalem at cbendavid@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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