Israelis think Obama interfering in election, poll finds

Likud’s lead over Zionist Union falls from four seats to one.

February 13, 2015 09:04
2 minute read.
President Barack Obama.

President Barack Obama acknowledges applause before he delivers the State of the Union address in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 28, 2014.. (photo credit: OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO / PETE SOUZA)


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Twice as many Israelis say that US President Barack Obama’s administration is interfering in the election as those who say it is not, according to a Panels Research poll taken for The Jerusalem Post and its Hebrew sister publication, Maariv Sof Hashavua.

Sixty-two percent of respondents said the Obama administration is interfering, 31% said it is not interfering, and 8% did not know.

A majority of respondents, 56%, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is correct in principle in his desire to address Congress on the Iranian nuclear threat, while 36% said he is not right, and 8% had no opinion.

Nevertheless, only 41% said that the prime minister should actually deliver the address, while 36% said he should not go to Washington at all, 17% said he should go, but speak only at the AIPAC policy conference, and 6% did not know.Sixty-two percent of respondents said Netanyahu should debate his challenger, the Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog. Twenty-seven percent said there should not be a debate and 11% did not know.

The poll of 589 respondents representing a statistical sample of the adult Israeli population was taken on Wednesday and had a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points. It found that 19% of respondents are undecided about their vote in the March 17 election.

Netanyahu’s Likud fell two Knesset seats in the past week, from 26 to 24, while the Zionist Union rose from 22 to 23, narrowing the Likud’s lead from four seats to one.

Bayit Yehudi, which was the third-largest party in last week’s poll, fell from 13 seats to 11, which would make it only the fifth largest, behind the Joint Arab List with 13, and Yesh Atid with 12.

The poll predicted seven seats each for United Torah Judaism and Koolanu; six for Shas, Meretz and Yisrael Beytenu; and five for former Shas chairman Eli Yishai’s Yahad party.

When asked how sure they were about their vote, not one United Torah Judaism or Joint Arab List voter said he was unsure of his vote. By contrast, 41% of those who said they intend to vote Koolanu reported having doubts about their vote.

The proportion of respondents saying they want Netanyahu to remain prime minister fell from 46% last week to 42%, while those saying they do not want him to keep his job rose from 45% to 49%. Nine percent said they did not know.

When asked whether the Central Elections Committee should disqualify Balad MK Haneen Zoabi from running for Knesset, 71% said yes, 22% no, and 7% did not know.

Regarding Yahad candidate Baruch Marzel, 40% said he should be disqualified, 42% said he should not, and 18% did not know.

If Marzel is disqualified and Yahad wins five seats, as the poll predicts, its MKs would be Yishai, current Bayit Yehudi MK Yoni Chetboun, Rabbi Mahlouf Ayish, Rabbi Sassoon Trabelsi and Rabbi Amital Barelli.

Barelli made news in 2005 when he was sentenced to four-and-a-half months in prison for telling soldiers to refuse orders to prevent Israelis from entering Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip, to evacuate settlers during the disengagement.

“I would not give my soldiers an order that contradicts IDF values, Jewish tradition and Zionism,” he said. “An order that contradicts all those things must not be carried out.”

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