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Half of Israelis oppose Netanyahu's leadership, want Gantz to become premier: Poll

December 15, 2023 at 2:25 pm

People gather to protest against the government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Israel on December 09, 2023 [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

Amid intensified Israeli army attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s popularity continues to fall, with the latest opinion poll in the country revealing that over half of Israelis want former Defence Minister, Benny Gantz, to become premier, Anadolu Agency reports.

According to the poll published on Friday by the Israeli newspaper, Maariv, only 31 per cent of Israelis believe that incumbent Prime Minister Netanyahu is “suitable for his position”.

The newspaper reported that the poll was conducted by the Lazar Institute and included a random sample of 510 Israelis, with an estimated error rate of 4.3 per cent.

The poll results indicated that 51 per cent of the sample polled believed that “Gantz, leader of the National Unity Party, is suitable for the position of prime minister”.

While 18 per cent of the survey participants declared that they had “no specific opinion” on the subject.

The poll also showed a “decline in popularity” for the Likud Party led by Netanyahu.

READ: Israel’s Netanyahu mulls ‘political future’ amid war on Gaza

According to the poll results, if the elections were held today, Likud and its ally parties, Shas, United Torah Judaism, Otzma Yehudit and Religious Zionist, would win 43 seats, compared to the 64 seats this coalition currently holds in the parliament or Knesset, according to the 2022 elections.

The results concluded that the Likud party would receive only 17 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, while the National Unity Party led by Gantz would receive 39 seats if general elections were held.

To form a government in Israel, it is necessary to obtain the confidence of at least 61 members of the Knesset.

Given the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip for more than two months, there is no possibility of holding elections in Israel anytime soon.

Earlier on Thursday, Gantz in a press conference in Tel Aviv implicitly accused Netanyahu and his coalition in the Knesset of causing internal divisions during wartime.

Gantz criticised Netanyahu and his coalition for insisting on continuing the war without ensuring the army’s ability to carry out its mission.

He also criticised Netanyahu for ignoring some of Washington’s objections to the continuous bombing of Gaza.

Netanyahu is currently under fire in Israel for his government’s failure to predict the Hamas Movement’s 7 October attacks, as well as his handling of the Israeli hostage crisis.

Israel has bombarded the Gaza Strip from the air and land, imposed a siege, and mounted a ground offensive in retaliation for a cross-border attack by Hamas on 7 October.

At least 18,787 Palestinians have since been killed and 50,897 injured in the Israeli onslaught, according to Gaza’s health authorities.

The Israeli death toll in the Hamas attack stands at 1,200, while 135 hostages are still held by the Palestinian group in Gaza, according to official figures.

READ: Is Netanyahu failing his own people?