Poll: Most Israelis Want Netanyahu to Resign, but His Party Is Still in the Lead

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the Muni World conference in Tel Aviv, February 14, 2018.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the Muni World conference in Tel Aviv, February 14, 2018.Credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP

A day after police recommended charging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with bribery, two polls show that his party would still come in first if elections were held today.

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According to both polls, Netanyahu's Likud would win the largest number of seats in the Knesset, challenger Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid would come in second and the Zionist Union would trail behind in third place.

The police were looking into two criminal probes involving Netanyahu. In "Case 1000," Netanyahu allegedly received champagne, cigars, jewelry and clothing, by demand and systematically, valued at over one million shekels (around $280,000). The gifts he received from the Israeli-American Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan increased significantly once Netanyahu was elected prime minister.

Regarding "Case 2000," the police contend that Netanyahu and the publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth daily newspaper Arnon Mozes had a give-and-take relationship meant to benefit them both.

The biggest surprise to emerge from the police recommendations is that Lapid, Netanyahu's political nemesis, testified against him in one of the cases.

What is Bibi accused of? Your guide to the Netanyahu cases

News that Lapid had testified against Netanyahu sparked outrage among the prime minister’s supporters, who accused the opposition leader of an attempted coup.

The polls were conducted by Channel 10 and the Israel Television News Company (formerly Channel 2). The Channel 10 poll found that 53 percent of the those surveyed doubt Netanyahu's denials of the allegations and just over one-third believe him. The News Company's numbers were slightly higher, with 40 percent siding with Netanyahu and 45 percent saying they do not believe him.

Channel 10 learned that while 71 percent of respondents said their opinion of the prime minister hasn't changed since the police investigation, half of those polled would like to see Netanyahu resign or be temporarily removed. Fourty-two percent said they want him to continue in his role.

The News Company asked respondents whom they believed about the allegations, Netanyahu or Lapid. Thirty-five percent said they put their trust in the Yesh Atid chairman while 30 percent said they believe Netanyahu.

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