Poll: Majority of Right-wing Voters Would Back Netanyahu Even if Indicted
According to a new poll, a majority (53 percent) of Israeli right-wing voters would continue to support Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu even if the attorney-general indicts him in any of three corruption cases. Only 18% said the premier should resign in such a situation, while 21% of respondents believe Netanyahu should temporarily step down until a court either acquits or convicts him. Notably, a full two-thirds said that law-enforcement agencies have been persecuting Netanyahu due to political motives. The survey, conducted by the Rafi Smith Institute for the Israel Democracy Institute, also found that a plurality of right-wing voters want politicians to have the power to override judicial decisions to strike down parliamentary legislation deemed inconsistent with Israel’s Basic Laws, which substitute for a formal Constitution. Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party is currently polling neck-and-neck with Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White list, although the prime minister is still likely to receive the most recommendations by party leaders to form the next government. Netanyahu has been the subject of three criminal probes over the last two years. In “Case 1000,” the Israeli leader is accused of accepting lavish gifts in return for providing favors to wealthy benefactors. In Case 2000, Netanyahu allegedly pursued an agreement to trade positive newspaper coverage for benefits for Arnon Mozes, the owner of the Yediot Ahronot daily. In Case 4000, Netanyahu is alleged to have orchestrated better coverage of him and his family from the owner of the popular Walla news site in exchange for the Communications Ministry – which he then headed – enacting policies potentially worth hundreds of millions of shekels [Israeli currency] for Shaul Elovitch, Walla’s owner and the controlling shareholder of the Bezeq communications company.