(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
A massive majority of people who voted for the Zionist Union in the last election are against entering Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, according to a Panels Research poll broadcast Monday on the Knesset Channel.
Amid headlines that representatives of Netanyahu and Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog held “intensive” talks on a national unity coalition, 63 percent of the party’s voters said they were opposed, 24% were in favor, and 13% said they did not know.
When asked what the Zionist Union’s main problem is, 34% of self-identified Center-Left voters said that Herzog is not a proper leader, 22% said the lack of a clear agenda, 22% said most of the public was more right-wing, 11% said infighting among the party’s leadership, 10% did not know, and 1% said the party had no problem.
Forty-three percent of Center-Left voters called the Zionist Union’s leadership bad, 34% said it was mediocre, 12% called it good, and 11% did not know. When asked which party currently represents them best, twice as many Center-Left respondents said Yesh Atid as said the Zionist Union.
Yediot Aharonot polled the 24 Zionist Union MKs about joining the government. All of them said they would be opposed unless significant changes took place.
MK Eitan Broshi, who previously strongly supported joining the coalition, said “there is no point in entering the government under the current conditions.”
“We won’t join an extreme Right-wing government just to warm a chair and implement Netanyahu’s policies,” Zionist Union MK Shelly Yacimovich said. “If it was unity of two large parties with a diplomatic and socioeconomic vision, I would consider the option. At this point, that is not the situation.”
There is also opposition to the move from inside the Likud. The head of the party’s branch council in Gezer, David Grossberg, circulated a petition against a national unity government. Grossberg warned that the Zionist Union joining the coalition would bring disaster for the settlement enterprise.
Among coalition party heads, Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett said that while he would be willing to serve in a government with Herzog, he would prefer to bring in Yisrael Beytenu instead. United Torah Judaism chairman Ya’acov Litzman said the current coalition of 61 MKs was ideal and Kulanu head Moshe Kahlon and Shas leader Arye Deri said they wanted the Zionist Union to join the coalition.
Herzog, who is dealing with a probe into campaign fund-raising violations, could soon face a leadership challenge from within his party. Yacimovich declared Sunday night that she would soon make a decision on whether to seek a rematch with Herzog, who unseated her in November 2013.
Former Labor leader Amir Peretz will host hundreds of loyalists at a political rally in Tel Aviv Tuesday night, his first major event since returning to the party. His associates declined to reveal whether he would announce at the event that he was running for party chairman.
Herzog wrote party members over the weekend, thanking them for sending him letters and text messages of support.
“I will continue to lead the party until we capture the government,” he wrote.