Poll: Majority of Israelis Oppose Immunity From Prosecution for Netanyahu

Channel 12 News poll also shows neither center-left nor right-wing bloc gaining majority needed to form government in upcoming election

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Netanyahu speaks at a government meeting in the Knesset, December 29, 2019.
Netanyahu speaks at a government meeting in the Knesset, December 29, 2019.Credit: Marc Israel Sellem

The majority of the Israeli public opposes granting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the corruption cases for which he was indicted, a Channel 12 News poll released Sunday night shows. It also shows Netanyahu's Likud party growing by one seat in Israel's March 2 election, at the expense of Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan.

The prime minister has until next week to decide whether he will request immunity from prosecution from the Knesset, which he said "would not be avoiding trial." Netanyahu has been charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in a favorable news coverage for telecommunications benefits case (Case 4000), as well as fraud and breach of trust in cases pertaining to lavish gifts for political favors and favorable coverage in return for legislation (Cases 1000 and 2000).

Of the over 500 respondents from across Israeli society, 51 percent said they oppose granting the premier immunity, with 33 percent supporting it. Another 16 percent said that they do not know. Among right wing voters, 35 percent oppose granting immunity, and 47 percent support the notion.

The poll also shows new developments in how Israelis are projected to vote in Israel's third round of elections in one year. It suggests that the right- and center-left-wing blocs would gain the same number of seats, and that neither will have a majority without the Yisrael Beiteinu party, echoing the results of the last election.

Kahol Lavan lost a seat since the last poll conducted two weeks ago. It would still lead with 34 seats, but the margin between it and Likud is slimming; the latter gained a seat, and now has 32.

The Joint List remains the third largest party with 13 seats. Kingmaker Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu maintained its eight seats. The ultra-Orthodox Shas lost a seat since the last poll, and now has eight, and Ya'akov Litzman's United Torah Judaism still holds seven.

Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett's Hayamin Hehadash dropped to five seats, as did Labor-Gesher. The Democratic Union is now teetering on the electoral threshold with four.

Projected to pass the electoral threshold for the first time is the Union of Right-Wing Parties, with four seats. Last week, Habayit Hayehudi, which along with National Union, made up the joint slate in the previous election, announced a merger with the Kahanist Otzma Yehudit party.

The poll questioned 507 respondents representative of Israelis eligible to vote. It was conducted through the online iPanel panel and via telephone by Midgam. It has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

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