Poll: Lapid Not Trusted

YERUSHALAYIM -

Finance Minister Yair Lapid succeeded in passing his anti-chareidi austerity budget, but he is no longer the hero of secular Israeli politics that he was a few months ago after the elections.

Over three quarters of Israelis say they do not trust Lapid to navigate the Israeli economy through its current difficulties, according to a poll released Monday.

The poll, taken by the Knesset Channel, found that 78% did not believe Lapid has been performing well as Finance Minister, while 82% said that he would not make a good Prime Minister, an ambition he made known publicly shortly after the elections last January.

When asked if they thought Lapid had kept the promises he made during the election campaign, 54% said no. And a stunning sign that his political career will likely have a short run, 43% of those who identified themselves as Yesh Atid voters said that they would not vote for the party again. If elections were held today, Yesh Atid would get only 13 Knesset seats, compared to its current 18.

Other parties did correspondingly better in the poll. Likud-Beiteinu would get 30 seats if new elections were held today, making it the largest party in the Knesset. Jewish Home and Labor would tie for second, with 17. Shas polled with 10.

In another study that reflects poorly on the performance of Israel’s elected officials, a private attorney who wrote letters to all 120 members of the Knesset, reported that fully three-quarters do not respond to letters from the public, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The experiment was conducted by Avi Dubitzky, an attorney from Tel Aviv, who sent  two letters. One he signed as Salma, an Arab woman from Jaffa who works as a cleaner and did not receive her salary from her employer, a manpower company. In the other, he identified himself as Dvir, a Jewish student working as a waiter, who claims that his boss steals his tips.

Dubitzky re-sent the 240 letters after two weeks, and waited over two months to make sure MKs had time to answer. Within the two months, Dubitzky received responses from only 34 MKs or their aides.

“I don’t understand what MKs are doing all day,” Dubitzky said Monday. “I’m very disappointed. In the U.S., members of Congress have full-time employees that respond to every letter, even if it’s about something silly. MKs should have that, too.”

The MKs who answered both letters are Miki Rosenthal (Labor), Stav Shaffir (Labor), Nachman Shai (Labor), Merav Michaeli (Labor), Deputy Finance Minister Mickey Levi (Yesh Atid), Eitan Cabel (Labor), Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), Zehava Gal-On (Meretz), Pnina Tamano-Shata (Yesh Atid), Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid), Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Perry (Yesh Atid) and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud).

Arab MKs — Hana Sweid (Hadash), Masoud Gnaim (UAL-Ta’al) and Issawi Frej (Meretz) — only responded to Salma, as did Economy Minister Naftali Bennett. Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) only answered Dvir.