Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman.
(photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
More than twice as many Israelis prefer to have former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon as their defense minister as Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman, according to a Panels Research poll broadcast Tuesday on the Knesset Channel.
The poll found that 60 percent prefer Ya’alon, 28% Liberman, and 12% do not know.
Asked if they agreed with Ya’alon’s decision to quit after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired him, rather than accept an offer to be foreign minister, 57% said yes, 28% no, and 15% did not know.
Among the general public, 49% said that in the fight between Ya’alon and Netanyahu, they sided with Ya’alon. Thirty-seven percent sided with the prime minister, and 14% did not know.
But among Likud voters, the numbers were very different.
Ya’alon apparently turned them off by accusing the party of becoming more extreme. Sixty-three percent said they sided with Netanyahu and just 19% with Ya’alon.
The poll found that voters are divided over where they place Ya’alon on the political map. Seven percent put him in the far Right, 36% in the moderate Right, 27% in the Center, 20% on the Left, and 10 percent did not know.
When asked if they would vote for a party headed by Ya’alon, 16% said yes, which would be worth some 19 seats in the next Knesset.
Another 16% said maybe, 58% said they would not vote for such a party, and 10 percent did not know.
Asked if they would be more likely to vote for such a party if former minister Gideon Sa’ar was second on the list, 12% said yes, 17% maybe, 61% no, and 10% did not know.
As for a party led by Sa’ar, with Ya’alon as his second in command, 13% of respondents said they would for it, 17% said they might, 50% said they would not, and 9% did not know.
Sa’ar responded to Ya’alon’s resignation on Twitter by calling him a courageous leader and a man of principle.
A separate Panels Research poll that ran in The Jerusalem Post’s Hebrew sister newspaper, Maariv Hashavua, a week before he resigned found that a party led by Ya’alon, Sa’ar, and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, without specifying who would be first on the list, would win 17 seats and become the second largest party after Likud.