Most Israelis think Netanyahu failed in coalition negotiations - IDI

Most of the Israeli public felt the Likud gave too many concessions in the negotiations leading up to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new government.

 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen walking in the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on January 2, 2023. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen walking in the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on January 2, 2023.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Most Israelis (60%) think Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed at the negotiations to form a new government, according to the Israel Democracy Institute's (IDI) new Israel Voice Index survey.

The survey found that just 32% of Israelis think Netanyahu handled the negotiations well, and these positive perceptions tend to come just from people who voted for parties in the new government. 

Even still, just over half of Likud (59%) and Religious Zionist Party (57%) think Netanyahu did a good job in negotiations, compared to far more support from voters of the haredi parties United Torah Judaism (67%) and Shas (76%).

Following the November 1, 2022 elections, the pro-Netanyahu bloc came out strong, winning a total of 65 seats – more than enough to form a coalition. 

Despite this, negotiations dragged on for weeks as the Likud leader struggled to form a coalition – even needing to ask President Isaac Herzog for an extension of his deadline.

Israel's opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu is seen gesturing at the Knesset, on July 26, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)Israel's opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu is seen gesturing at the Knesset, on July 26, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

So why do Israelis think Netanyahu failed at coalition negotiations? 

Most see this delay as being caused by the demands of the various coalition partners, which included policy concessions and key ministerial and committee positions.

And for most (62%) of the Israeli public, the consensus is that the Likud made too many concessions. 

This is also true when divided up by party. Most (60%) of Likud voters think Netanyahu made too many concessions, as did most of the Arab parties Ra'am and Hadash-Ta'al (58%). 

This view was even stronger in other parties opposed to the new government, such as Labor and Meretz (85%), Yesh Atid and Yisrael Beytenu (88%) and National Unity (95%). 

The Religious Zionist Party saw just under half (44%) of voters thinking Netanyahu gave up too much in negotiations, though only a minority of Shas (28%) and UTJ (22.5%) voters felt the same.

How different sectors in Israeli society impact Israeli politics

The negotiations leading up to the new government were also characterized by discourse regarding the influence of certain sectors of the Israeli public on politics. 

Specifically, the new government is characterized by increased haredi political power, a sharp drop in the number of female and Arab coalition members and increased far-right views – the latter in spite of Israel now having its first LGBTQ+ Knesset speaker, Amir Ohana.

A vast majority (75%) of Israeli respondents think that the haredi sector, itself a minority albeit one that is growing fast, has a large impact on Israeli politics compared to the size of the demographic. 

Despite this, most think that the other demographics – women, Arabs and the LGBTQ+ community – have a smaller political impact in respect to the size of the demographic. 

What else about the new government has Israelis worried?

The increased presence of haredim and the far Right in the new government has a majority (51.5%) of Israelis worried that they won't be able to maintain their preferred lifestyle. 

This is especially the case regarding Arabs, with the most common opinion among Israelis being that the new government will have a negative impact on the status of Arabs in Israel, as well as Israel's standing in the international community.

But how will Israelis respond to this new government if they're dissatisfied with it?

Four possible options were considered as responses to the new Israeli government. 

The first of which are street demonstrations, with 64% thinking it is likely that these will start up again.

Another option was not paying taxes, also known as tax rebellion, though only 22.5% think this is likely.

A third option, and by far the least likely according to Israelis, would be not showing up for IDF reserve duty when summoned, with just 19% thinking it likely.

The last option was emigration, leaving Israel for other countries. A total of 35% of Israelis think emigration will increase, but they are divided on political lines. Only 25% of Israelis on the Right thought this was likely to pick up steam, along with 45% in the center and 60% on the Left.