A new Israeli poll released this morning, and conducted following the cease-fire with Hamas, announced yesterday after 8 days of fighting, shows a significant drop in public support for Israeli Prime Minister Netanayhu.
The poll which was commissioned by Israel’s Knesset website and conducted by the Panels Institute shows Netanyahu’s joint list with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, named Likud-Beiteinu dropping significantly from a current 42 seats combined to 33 seats.
Israel’s Labor party gained two seats from a previous poll rising to 22 seats, and the Yesh Atid party of former Journalist Yair Lapid dropped from 13 seats to 11.
Strong gains on Israel’s right were marked by the Jewish Home party headed by former Netanyahu Chief of Staff Naftali Bennett which rose from 11 to 13 seats, and the Power to Israel party of Michael Ben-Ari and Aryeh Eldad, now projected to win 4 seats. The Orthodox Shas party remained static in the poll with 10 mandates, while Meretz and United Torah Judaism both came in with 6 seats.
The new figures may be a result of the unpopularity in Israel of the ceasefire agreement, which a Channel 2 poll taken before the ceasefire was announced concluded that 70% of Israelis opposed.
According to Israeli website Walla, a Likud mister who did not wish to be named said that the, “public response is very, very difficult. We do not remember such a magnitude of an enraged response. People call and say: this time we will not vote Likud.”
Another minister is quoted as saying that a reserve soldier said: “A week ago all of my battalion were Likudniks. Now, if you think anyone would vote Likud You’re kidding yourself.”
Another minister coming to the defense of Netanyahu said that the situation was more complicated, citing the famous Israeli saying: “what you see from here is not visible from there.”
Israeli political commentator and Algemeiner blogger, Arik Elman, said that he is not sure if these results will hold in the longer term. “Obviously the first reaction to the agreement is deep disappointment,” he said, ”and that is before all Israeli concessions to Hamas on the issues of movement and border crossings have been realized.”
“Likud Beitenu voters many of whom live in the South feel that Netanyahu and Lieberman bowed to Ehud Barak,” he continued. However he said, “it is hard to tell whether this opinion climate will endure – there are two months to elections, and if the calm will hold, perhaps Netanyahu will yet persuade right-wing voters to support him and not the untested alternative in the person of Naftali Bennett.”
“On the other hand,” he added, “Labor is benefiting from the renewed public image of Amir Peretz, who is considered a “father” of the Iron Dome and savior of lives.”
“The accounts of the negotiations published so far reveal that the Israeli government bowed to the American request not to push Egypt too far and accepted conditions that it first considered unsatisfying,” he concluded.