Poll: Majority of Israelis say Israeli response to Hamas not tough enough

Despite the view that the IDF response has been too soft, Netanyahu’s lead over Gantz grows to 11 percent.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A poll by Kan, Israel’s public broadcasting authority, and published Wednesday shows that most Israelis do not think Israel’s response to the most recent barrage of Hamas rockets has been harsh enough.

Of 545 people polled, 53 percent said that the IDF’s counterattacks were too weak following Monday’s rocket launch from Gaza that destroyed a home deep in  Israel’s central region and injured seven. Only 29 percent said the response was proportional, while a mere 3 percent considered it too harsh.

In addition, only 24 percent of the respondents gave Netanyahu’s job performance over the last several days a “good” grade. And equal numbers gave him a “poor” or “so-so” rating – 33 percent each.

The IDF has hit dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip since Monday, retaliating both for the hit on the Wolf home in Moshav Mishmeret and for the dozens of rockets Hamas has launched at the south since then.  Several have been intercepted by the Iron Dome system, though one hit a house in Sderot. Fortunately, it failed to explode.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has described the Israel Air Force’s actions as delivering a “very, very powerful” blow against the terrorist organization. This included hitting high-value targets such as the home of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, a weapons manufacturing site and a Hamas military compound.

The citizens, especially in the south, however, disagree with the prime minister’s assessment.

Itai Fechter of Kibbutz Kfar Aza harshly condemned Netanyahu. “He’s abandoned us, betrayed us, lies and tricks us,” he charged. “He doesn’t count us, doesn’t recognize us. This was proven yesterday and in general over the last year.”

“I expected yesterday that first of all, deterrence would be re-established,” he continued. “He’s the Defense Minister and he must decide. He’s humiliating himself. It’s a scandal. If schools are already evacuated, classes are closed, army divisions are brought south and an entire country is put under pressure, at least hit Hamas, knock down buildings until they beg for quiet.”

Although people are angry with Netanyahu, the poll did have some good news for the prime minister. Asked who their preferred candidate is for prime minister, Netanyahu nevertheless, despite the criticism, enjoyed a sizeable lead over Blue and White party head Benny Gantz (45%-to-34%).

The poll’s margin of error was 4.4 percent.