Poll: PM Preserving Government for Personal, Not Security Interests

YERUSHALAYIM -
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference in Tel Aviv, on Sunday. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

A new poll taken after the dramatic events of Sunday and Monday, in which the government apparently survived the departure of Avigdor Liberman from the Defense Ministry, indicates that many Israelis do not believe Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when he says that the government must remain intact because of the security challenges facing the country.

Instead, some 60 percent believe that Netanyahu’s main incentive in preserving the government was political – keeping his coalition together for the sake of his continuing on as prime minister. Only 31 percent said they agreed with his contention that holding elections now was a bad idea because it would harm national security. The poll, released by Army Radio Tuesday, was taken by Dr. Mina Tzemach.

On Monday, Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced that his Jewish Home Party had decided to remain in the government, despite the fact that Netanyahu had decided not to appoint him Defense Minister, as Bennett had demanded. The announcement dispelled rumors that Bennett was going to resign his post as Education Minister, thus breaking up the coalition.

In a social media message, Netanyahu’s Office said that it expected the current government to continue on through November 2019, when the next elections are scheduled.

According to the poll, little would change in the political landscape if elections were held today. The Likud would get 30 seats, the same number it has now and just a few less than it had been polling at several weeks ago. Yesh Atid strengthens slightly, with 18 seats, while Zionist Camp continues to poll poorly, receiving only 12 seats. Jewish Home would get 9 seats, one more than it currently has. Also strengthening slightly are Yisrael Beytenu and Kulanu, which both polled at 8 seats. United Torah Judaism would get 7 seats, and Shas 6. Under those circumstances, Netanyahu would likely form the next government, and its makeup would be very similar to the current government’s, the poll indicates.