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Netanyahu enjoys boost in poll after deadly ‘mowing the lawn’ in Gaza

May 15, 2023 at 1:49 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem [ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel’s deadly military offensive against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip has boosted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s poll number, according to the latest surveys. The Likud leader’s popularity had taken a dip during weeks of protest against attempts to overhaul the judiciary. A series of lightning polls, however, show Netanyahu clawing back his popularity following the latest onslaught on Gaza, with one poll predicting that he would win if there was a snap election.

At least 33 Palestinians have been killed and dozens injured during what was the 17th military onslaught on Gaza in 19 years. Israel unilaterally withdrew illegal settlers from Gaza in 2005, only to impose a full blockade on the enclave. In the years since, two million Palestinians have been terrorised by Israeli military operations nearly once a year, which Israelis refer to as “mowing the lawn”.

“Just like mowing your front lawn, this is constant, hard work,” David M Weinberg, a Zionist strategist of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security said referring to the tactic. “If you fail to do so, weeds grow wild and snakes begin to slither around in the brush.”

Citing surveys released Sunday evening by Channel 12 news, Channel 13 news and the Kan public broadcaster, Time of Israel said that Likud is faring better than in a string of recent polls. Contrary to the other polls, Kan predicted that Likud would end up the largest party in the Knesset, which would be a remarkable turnaround for Netanyahu, having trailed in the polls prior to Israel’s brutal campaign on the Gaza Strip.

Polls carried out by Channel 12 and Channel 13 make Benny Gantz the favourite. In a 2019 campaign video, the former Israeli army chief bragged about how much killing and destruction he committed in Gaza. “Parts of Gaza were returned to the stone ages,” Gantz is reported saying in a campaign video.

According to Channel 12 news, coalition parties would receive a total of 54 seats, while the anti-Netanyahu bloc would garner 61. In the Channel 13 poll, the network predicted neither bloc would receive a majority, with the coalition winning 56 seats, the opposition 59. All polls, however, indicated that there had been a bounce for Netanyahu and his far-right coalition.

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