68% say fourth election would be Netanyahu’s fault - poll

Haredim ask Netanyahu, Gantz to stop election

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on June 30, 2020.  (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on June 30, 2020.
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
If a new election is initiated by the failure to pass a state budget by August 25, the public would overwhelmingly blame Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a poll taken for 103FM, part of The Jerusalem Post Group, found Thursday.
According to the poll, taken by Ma’agar Mohot, 68% of the public would blame Netanyahu and 32% Blue and White leader Benny Gantz.
Asked if Netanyahu should be prevented from running due to his criminal indictments, respondents were almost evenly divided, with 48% saying yes and 52% no. Sources in Blue and White this week said they would pass a bill preventing Netanyahu from running if he insists on initiating an election.
If an election would be held now, the poll predicted 32 seats for Netanyahu’s Likud, 18 for Yesh Atid, 16 for the Joint List, 12 for Yamina, 11 for Blue and White, 10 for Shas, eight each for Yisrael Beytenu and United Torah Judaism and five for Meretz.
Polls taken for Thursday night’s television news shows found that support for Yamina leader Naftali Bennett and his party had risen significantly. A survey taken for Channel 13 by pollster Camil Fuchs put Yamina tied for second at 19 seats behind Likud with 29.
A Kantar Institute poll taken for KAN 11 TV found that the public considers Bennett the second-most qualified candidate for prime minister after Netanyahu. While 37% picked the prime minister, 19% said Bennett, 15% Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, 10% Gantz, and 20% said none of the above.
In the Kantar poll, 71% said Netanyahu was running the coronavirus crisis poorly, and 20% said he was running it well.
The Likud insists on passing two one-year budgets, while Blue and White backs one two-year budget.
UTJ and Shas called upon Netanyahu and Gantz on Thursday to “display national responsibility” and come together to reach a solution to their dispute over the budget and prevent an unnecessary election.
“We will not cooperate with any initiative to advance the election, and we will do everything to prevent elections,” the two parties said in a joint statement. “The citizens of Israel are dealing with serious health and economic problems, so even thinking about going to an election at this time is completely crazy.”
Blue and White responded that the leaders of Shas and UTJ were correct that “Israelis will not forgive whoever drags the state to elections at a time of a health and economic crisis.”
Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel and MK Zvi Hauser of the Derech Eretz faction said Shas and UTJ should vote for Hauser’s bill to extend the deadline for passing a budget.
“Whoever is leading toward elections at this time is harming the citizens of Israel,” they said in a joint statement. “We expect every MK to support our bill to delay the passage of the budget and avoid dispersing the parliament. We must focus on stopping the plague of the coronavirus and the economic plague and set aside our political disputes.”
To avoid elections, the budget does not need to pass completely into law by the deadline, Finance Minister Israel Katz told Army Radio on Thursday. It only needs to pass once in the cabinet, and then the fight over the budget could continue in the Knesset, he said.