Rightist, religious poll: Netanyahu should remain PM even if indicted

Among right-wing and religious Jewish, 53% of those asked said they would support Netanyahu remaining in office even if he is indicted.

By World Israel News Staff 

A majority of right-wing and religious Israelis say that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be allowed to stay in office even if indicted, says the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI).

Netanyahu is facing a pending indictment in three cases involved alleged corruption. The attorney general has already stated that the prime minister should stand trial, but his ultimate decision is pending a hearing, the timing of which remains unclear.

Israelis go the polls to vote for a new Knesset, including prime minister, on September 17.

The voters represented in this poll, says the IDI, support parties that are considered natural partners in a Netanyahu government, though they also include backers of Yisrael Beytenu, whose leader, MK Avigdor Liberman, refused to join a Netanyahu governing coalition after the April 9 election and Gesher, which joined forces with Labor after this poll is said to have been carried out.

In the survey, which the IDI says was conducted in late June via the Rafi Smith Institute, 53% of those asked said that they would support Netanyahu remaining in the Prime Minister’s Office even if he is indicted, while 21% believed that he should leave office temporarily and return to the Prime Minister’s Office only if acquitted.

Of those surveyed, 18% support Netanyahu’s resignation if indicted and 6% would support a plea bargain stipulating that if he agrees to retire from political life completely, he would not stand trial.

On a related issue raised in the survey, says the IDI, 56% replied that granting immunity for elected officials during their term in office creates inequality before the law among citizens. Thirty percent of those polled believed that elected officials have earned the trust of the people and therefore they should be granted immunity from prosecution during their term in office.