The majority of the Israeli public is dissatisfied with the manner in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is carrying out his duties the Israel Democracy Institute’s monthly peace index has found. The new polling data comes against a background of ongoing difficulties for Netanyahu with the criminal investigations into him as well as the recent State Comptroller’s report into the handling of the 2014 Gaza war which leveled serious criticism at the prime minister and others for their management of the conflict. According to the survey, 53 percent of the general public thinks Netanyahu is not functioning well, compared to 43% who think he is. Among the Jewish public, the picture is largely the same with 52% believing he is not doing a good job.
The poll also addressed other issues pertaining to current affairs, including opinions on a reported initiative of former US Secretary of State John Kerry for the Arab states to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in return for renewing the diplomatic negotiations with the goal of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders and territorial exchanges. Some 57% of Jewish respondents said Netanyahu was right to reject the proposal, compared to 33% who said he was wrong to do so. Among both Jewish and Arab respondents, a majority of 52% still said he was right to reject the idea. Polling also addressed whether or not Israel should take unilateral measures to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians, including steps to secure Israeli control of the major settlement blocs in Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley, and Jerusalem, but withdrawing from other parts of the West Bank and “scaling back” the occupation. Some 54% of Jewish respondents said they were opposed to such steps, with 36% stating they were in favor. Even among the general public, the same majority of 54% said they opposed such unilateral measures. The poll also surveyed opinion on the sentencing of Elor Azaria, who received an 18 month sentence for manslaughter after he shot a wounded Palestinian terrorist who was lying prostrate on the ground in the head. Only a minority (26%) of the Jewish public said the punishment that the military court meted out to Azaria was fitting. The rest were divided between those who think the sentence was too heavy (33.5%), too light (15%), or that the trial should not have been held in the first place (18%). A segmentation by political camps revealed that only in the center is there a plurality for those who think the sentence was appropriate (42%, compared to 17.5% who think it was too light and 21% who think it was too heavy). On the right, the scale tips toward those who see the sentence as too heavy (48%) compared to 18% who view it as fitting and only 4% who say it was too light. On the left a majority (54%) regards the sentence as too light (30% think it was appropriate and 7% see it as too heavy). A decisive majority of 68% of the Jewish respondents said they support giving Azariah a pardon, as had been advocated by numerous politicians.The survey was conducted between February 26 and 27, by the Midgam Research Institute on a sample of 600 respondents aged 18 and over, with a margin of error of 4.1%
Benjamin Netanyahu dismissive of corruption allegations on January 2, 2017