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'Israelis support Peres, not lavish birthday bash'
June 21, 2013 11:27
Poll finds 56% think party's private funding doesn't justify scale; over 75% satisfied with Peres's performance as president.
President Shimon Peres at his 90th birthday celebration June 18, 2013.

Peres at his 90th birthday 370. (photo credit:Koby Gidon/GPO)

The fact that President Shimon Peres’s star-studded 90th birthday party was funded by private contributions and not by Israeli taxpayers does not justify the lavishness of the event, a majority of Israelis said in a Panels poll taken by Sof Hashavua, the Hebrew language sister publication of The Jerusalem Post.

Fifty-six percent of respondents said the source of the funding did not improve their impression of the event, while 35% said it did, and nine percent did not know. The percentage that was disturbed by the event was highest among Israelis defining themselves as left wing. Among them, 68% said the private funding did not justify the extent of the party and 26% said it did.

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The numbers were not much different among right-wingers, among whom 60% said the donations did not justify the extravagance and 31% said it did. Peres fared best among self-proclaimed centrists, with 45% saying the fact that taxpayers did not fund the event made it better and 50% said it did not.

When asked a more general question about impressions of the birthday party, 44% of respondents said it was fitting for a man of Peres’s stature and 44% said it was exaggerated and tasteless. Ten percent had no opinion and two percent said Peres deserved even better.

Asked if they thought the event improved Israel’s image internationally, 57% answered yes, 37% said no, and six percent had no opinion.

Regarding Peres’s performance as president, he scored very well with 77% saying they were satisfied, only 16% unsatisfied and seven percent saying they had no opinion.

The poll was taken Wednesday and had a 4.3% margin of error.

A different survey, taken by Gal Hadash for Israel Hayom, found that 51.1% considered the Peres party exaggerated, 40.4% said it was fitting and 8.5% had no opinion.

In that poll, 77.5% had a favorable view of the president, 17.4% unfavorable, and 5.1% had no opinion.

Taken Wednesday, it had a 4.4% margin of error.
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