Polls Show Public Lukewarm to Yaalon Comeback

YERUSHALAYIM -
Outgoing Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon (front), at a farewell ceremony in the Kirya, the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, on May 22. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Outgoing Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon (front), at a farewell ceremony in the Kirya, the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, on May 22. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

When former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon left his job two weeks ago, he made it clear that he was still a force to be reckoned with, declaring that he has “no intention of leaving public and political life, and in the future I will return to compete for Israel’s national leadership.”

However, polls published in recent days show a lukewarm reaction to the prospect of a Yaalon candidacy for prime minister.

A Knesset-sponsored opinion sampling said that 45 percent of respondents said Yaalon is not a worthy candidate for prime minister, 38 percent said that he is, and 17 percent weren’t sure. This was an improvement over a prior Knesset poll last week which had 58 percent saying they would not vote for a party led by Yaalon (16 percent yes, 9 percent didn’t know).

On a joint ticket with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and former Interior Minister Gideon Saar, the results were more encouraging. An Israel Radio poll on Friday indicated that a (purely speculative) Kahlon-Saar-Yaalon party would win the most seats in the Knesset — 25 — if elections were held today, while Likud would drop to 21 and Yesh Atid would rise slightly, to 13. This too says more about the popularity of Kahlon and Saar than Yaalon.

In any case, Yaalon appears to be preparing for an early comeback. Last week, he sent a letter to supporters which hinted that he would look for their continued backing sometime soon.

On Tuesday, the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center announced that the former defense minister is scheduled to speak at their prestigious annual gathering in two weeks. The topic: the background to his resignation from the Defense Ministry.