Majority of Israelis Don't Want Bennett as Defense Minister as Elections Loom, Poll Shows

51 percent of Israelis think Bennett should not be given the defense portfolio ■ 24 percent think he's right for the job

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, November 15, 2018.
Meged Gozani

Fifty-one percent of Israelis believe that Education Minister Naftali Bennett should not be given the defense portfolio following Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's resignation last week, according to a poll the Israeli TV show "Meet the Press" released Saturday.

Bennett has made a bid for the position, but according to the poll, only 24 percent of the public believe he is right for the job. Twenty-five percent of the public is unsure.

According to the same poll, 53 percent of the public supports the call for early elections considering the current political circumstances. Fifty-nine percent agree with Lieberman's resignation, and 49 percent say that Lieberman resigned over disagreements with the security cabinet.

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The poll was conducted by Manu Geva and Mina Tzemach from Midgam research institute in collaboration with iPanel.

The group also conducted two polls measuring expected election results - the first if elections were called today and the other, examining the results if former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz were to join the Zionist Union party.

If elections were held today, according to the poll, Likud would receive 30 seats; Yesh Atid would win 18; the Joint List and the Zionist Union would take 12 seats each; Habayit Hayehudi would receive 10 seats; Kulanu would receive eight, followed by Shas with seven seats.

United Torah Judaism, Yisrael Beiteinu and a party headed by independent Orli Levi-Abekasis would each take six seats. Meretz would receive five seats.

If Gantz runs as a member of the Zionist Union party, Likud would drop to 26 seats, and the Zionist Union would double its seat count to 24. Yesh Atid would win 14 seats. The Joint List would receive 12 and Habayit Hayehudi would drop to nine seats.

Kulanu and Shas would both receive 7 seats and the United Torah Judaism and Yisrael Beiteinu would both take six. The party headed by Levi-Abekasis would acquire five seats, followed by Meretz with four.