Poll: Majority of Gantz Voters Say West Bank Settlements Endanger Israel

Despite Benny Gantz's efforts to paint himself as centrist, majority of respondents who say they'll vote for Hosen L'Yisrael hold left-wing views

Benny Gantz mingles with people during an electoral campaign tour, Rishon Letzion, February 1, 2019.
THOMAS COEX / AFP

Benny Gantz has tried to remain vague on diplomatic issues to avoid being perceived as left wing ahead of the April 9 election, but the results of an opinion poll now show that a majority of those who say they will vote for his Hosen L'Yisrael party support left-wing positions on the Palestinian issue.

The poll was conducted for the Geneva Initiative, an organization advocating efforts to achieve a peace deal with the Palestinians. The survey was conducted about a week and a half ago by the iPanel opinion polling firm among a representative sampling of Israelis.

The poll examined three main questions among supporters of Hosen L'Yisrael, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party and Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid. 

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Asked whether Israeli settlements in the West Bank are a security asset or a burden that endangers the lives of soldiers and civilians, 58 percent of Hosen L'Yisrael voters said they are a burden that endangers lives. By contrast, only 40 percent of Yesh Atid supporters and a third of Likud supporters held this view of the settlements. 

When polled on whether the government that is formed after the April 9 election should work to separate Israel and the Palestinians – either by agreement or unilaterally on Israel's part – 80 percent of those who say they will vote for Gantz's party answered affirmatively. 

When it comes to Likud voters, the poll indicated that they are less right wing than the party's representatives in parliament. Seventy-five percent of those who say they will vote Likud replied affirmatively on the question of separation from the Palestinians.

The iPanel firm also asked how it would affect the voters' decision at the ballot box if a party and its leader committed to finalizing a border between Israel and the Palestinians within two years of taking office.

Among Hosen L'Yisrael voters, 73 percent said it would increase the prospects that they would vote for a party whose leader make such a commitment. In comparison, 61 percent of Yesh Atid supporters and 43 percent of Likud voters said it would favorably influence them.

A Haaretz poll published this week showed that at this point in the campaign, Gantz is drawing about half of his electoral support – 11 of the 22 seats that his party is projected currently to receive – from Israelis who voted for the Labor Party or Yesh Atid in the past. 

This is consistent with the iPanel polling results as well. Supporters of other parties also said they would expect Gantz to seek a solution to the conflict with the Palestinians if he is elected prime minister.

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