Russian olim poll: Peretz, PM 'anti-heroes' of the year

Gaydamak, Lieberman, Sharon, Netanyahu top list of Russian immigrants' heroes.

Defense Minister Amir Peretz may be trailing far behind in the Labor Party leadership polls, but he succeeded in winning one title on Monday: "anti-hero" of Russian-speaking immigrants to Israel. According to a poll taken by the top pollster of the Russian immigrant community, Mutagim Institute head Eliezer Feldman, Peretz defeated Olmert for "anti-hero" of 2006, 44 percent to 29%. The poll was published Monday in the Russian-language newspaper Globus. The top heroes of Russian immigrants were billionaire businessman Arkadi Gaydamak (27%), Israel Beiteinu head Avigdor Lieberman (13%), former prime minister Ariel Sharon (5%) and opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu. Asked to rate 2006, 76% of respondents said it was a bad year, while 5% said it was better than last year. They said the two top reasons for the year being bad were the war in Lebanon and Sharon's illness. In a similar poll conducted last year, Sharon was the hero with 50% and also made the anti-hero list with 25%. In Russian, "anti-hero" had worse connotations than "villain," Kadima MK Marina Solodkin said. She said she "hopes there will be considerable changes in the Kadima leadership after the changes in the Labor Party." Asked how Russian immigrants regarded the Labor candidates, Solodkin said they were disappointed with MK Ophir Paz-Pines's performance as interior minister, Peretz was seen as a "bad joke," they did not know MKs Ami Ayalon and Danny Yatom, and former prime minister Ehud Barak's premiership was remembered as a "disaster."