Poll shows Gideon Saar is best Netanyahu replacement; half of Liberman voters would abandon him

Gideon Saar received the greatest support among the general public to replace Benjamin Netanyahu as Likud party leader.

By World Israel News Staff

A recent poll found that Likud MK Gideon Saar received the greatest support among the general public (41%), as compared with Likud MKs Yuli Edelstein (8%), Gilad Erdan (6%), and other candidates (8%) to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In possibly far-reaching ramifications should Israel go to a third election, only about half of Israel Beiteinu voters (51.5%) said they would vote for the party again. It was the lowest outcome compared to the other parties, such as Likud (88.5%) and Blue and White (84%).

Israel Beiteinu, led by Avigdor Liberman, brought about both the April election and the subsequent September election by first quitting as defense minister and then, second, by refusing to join the Netanyahu coalition.

A loss of Knesset seats would significantly weaken Liberman’s ability to influence events. It is also likely that his generally right-wing supporters would flow to other right-wing parties, including the Likud.

The poll was done under the direction of Menachem Lazar of PanelsLTD for the Israel Democracy Institute’s Guttman Center.

Among its other findings, 56% of the public support a rotational government between Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, in which they would take turns acting as prime minister.

Of those surveyed, 14% support a rotation only if Netanyahu is first in line to serve as prime minister, and 20% only if Gantz is first.

The poll found that 41% of the general public is in favor of including the ultra-Orthodox parties in the government, while 66% of Israeli Jews view the establishment of a coalition that includes the Arab Joint List as problematic.

If Netanyahu is indicted, 65% of Israelis believe that he should resign as head of the Likud.

Netanyahu faced a pre-indictment hearing in September. He is awaiting the decision of the attorney general. Netanyahu faces charges in three cases.

Case 1000 alleges that Netanyahu and his wife wrongfully received some $200,000 worth of champagne, cigars, and jewelry from two billionaires, Arnon Milchan and James Packer. The prosecution is alleging that in exchange, the prime minister helped their business interests.

Case 2000 involves an alleged deal Netanyahu made with Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes, under the terms of which the prime minister would get a law passed that would hurt the daily’s main rival, Israel Hayom, in exchange for gaining positive coverage in Mozes’ newspaper and sister website.

In Case 4000, the State Attorney’s Office believes that Netanyahu pushed for regulatory changes that benefited Bezeq Telecom controlling shareholder and Walla! news outlet owner Shaul Elovitch to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in return for positive media coverage of the prime minister.

Case 4000 is considered by the prosecution as the most serious.