Fighting poverty is voters' top priority

Poll shows that, unlike other elections, security issues take second place.

chabad poverty 88 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
chabad poverty 88 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A recent poll revealed that a large percentage of the voters - 33 percent - believed that fighting poverty constituted the most urgent issue with which the 17th Knesset must deal after the March 28 elections. Second on the list of importance, according to the Dahaf Institute poll released on Friday on Channel 2, was the fight against Hamas; 28% of Israelis believed it was the most important issue. Head of the Dahaf Institute, Dr. Mina Zemach, noted that these values represented a reversal of priorities. She recalled that during the last elections in 2003, fighting terrorism was clearly the most important issue for most Israelis. Dr. Zemach also drew attention to the difference in the public view of the recommended strategy for combating terror. Whereas in 2003, Israelis saw the fight as a military one, involving the IDF, targeted killings, arrests, intelligence, and so forth, today Israel saw the struggle as a more diplomatic one. According to Zemach, more Israelis than before believed that applying pressure on Hamas to recognize Israel's right to exist and abandoning terrorism. The other issues on the Israeli agenda included improving education (supported by 18% of the population), evacuation of settlements (9%), and fighting corruption (8%) An additional poll revealed that Kadima had continued to drop in the poll to an expected 36 mandates. Dr. Zemach suggested that the fall came from the reduction in the gain the party initially received following the IDF's operation in Jericho during which former tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi's assassins were apprehended into Israeli custody. Labor gained some mandates, according to the same poll, reaching a predicted 21 Knesset seats following the elections. Channel 2 assigned this rise to the increasing public concern for socioeconomic issues. Likud was expected to receive only 14 seats, whereas Shas and Israel Beiteinu were forecasted to each get 11 mandates. The number of undecided voters was shown to have an electoral value of 13 seats.