Poll Reveals

Despite Probes, Netanyahu's Party Would Still Go Strong if Elections Were Held Today

While the prime minister's party would still get 27 seats if elections were held today, poll indicates 50 percent of Israelis would like to see Netanyahu resign

File photo: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara at an event by his Likud party in Tel Aviv.
\ AMIR COHEN/ REUTERS

A poll conducted by Israel's Channel 10 News and published Wednesday evening indicates that despite the recent and dramatic revelations in recent days regarding the corruption cases involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his Likud party would still get 27 seats in the Knesset if elections were held today.

According to the poll, were elections held today with a different leader in Netanyahu's place heading the Likud, the party would get 26 seats in the Knesset.

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The poll, which was conducted after the premier's confidant and former Communications Ministry director general Shlomo Filber turned state's evidence, shows that the second most popular party would be Yesh Atid, chaired by Yair Lapid. The poll's results show that if elections were held today, Yesh Atid would get 23 seats in the Knesset- two seats less than it was predicted the party would receive in a previous poll.

Channel 10 carried out the poll after the police released its recommendations to indict the prime minister for bribery offenses pertaining to two of the earlier corruption probes he is embroiled in: Case 1000 (the probe centering on suspicion that he received lavish gifts from Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian businessman James Packer) and Case 2000 (the probe alleging that Netanyahu promised the publisher of Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot to decrease the circulation of its competitor Israel Hayom in return for better coverage).

The poll also revealed that 50 percent of Israelis polled believe that Netanyahu should resign from his post or at least vacate it temporarily, as opposed to 33 percent of the public who support him and wish to see him remain the prime minister.

When asked about the future of the current government in the wake of the reports on the different corruption cases surrounding the premier, 42 percent of pollsters said that they thought Israel should hold early elections. Thirty-six percent of those asked were opposed to holding new elections.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) clarified on Wednesday in his first public statement regarding the investigations against Netanyahu since the breakneck developments in Case 4000, that his party will not leave the coalition until Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit makes his decisions on the matter known. "We will act according to the law and wait for the recommendations of the attorney general. Until then we will continue making reforms and acting on behalf of the public," Kahlon said.

Thus far, controversial MK Oren Hazan (Likud) was the only Likud and coalition member who called on Netanyahu to temporarily abandon the premiership due to the developments in the probes against him. "Neglecting to make a wise decision could cast a shadow over a very great career," Hazan told Kan News Wednesday morning. "These suspicions could make us lose the rule [over Israel]," he said.