Poll: Most Israelis don’t believe Netanyahu

The majority of Israelis believe it was politics that motivated Netanyahu to fight for his coalition and not a security threat, as the prime minister claimed.  

By Jack Gold, World Israel News

Most Israelis were skeptical regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that he thwarted the toppling of his government because of a severe security threat. Rather, they believe he did so for political reasons, a new poll indicates.

Netanyahu, in an address to the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday, said that Israel is “in a military campaign that has not yet ended. At this sensitive security time, it would be irresponsible to topple the government.”

“Whether our partners decide to topple the government or not, we will continue to take action to ensure the security of our state and of our people. We will do so sensibly, responsibly and with determination,” he added, emphasizing the security threat that is dictating his decisions.

While Netanyahu has been successful in saving his government for the time being, a Monday poll shows he has failed to convince the public of his motives.

A poll conducted by Mina Tsemach and Mano Geva shows that 58 percent of the public believes Netanyahu was motivated by politics in his battle to save his coalition, while only 31 percent said he was genuinely concerned by an unspecified security crisis; 11 percent said they were unsure.

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Likud maintains its lead

In related news, a poll on the current political scene shows that Netanyahu’s Likud party has maintained its lead and that the latest political crisis did little to affect the public’s vote.

Respondents were asked for whom they would vote if elections were held today, and the results show that the Likud would take control of a quarter of the Knesset with 30 seats. Trailing far behind is Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party with 18 mandates, and the Zionist Union-Labor party would lose significant power with only 12 seats.

Avigdor Liberman’s party gained two seats, a show of support for his move to resign as minister of defense last week over the government’s security policies.

The extreme left-wing Meretz party barely makes it into the Knesset with only four seats.

Many variables are still shrouded in obscurity. The parties’ final configuration is yet unclear, and therefore these poll results are reflective only of a short-term trend.