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Poll: Israelis souring on Netanyahu’s performance in battling pandemic

The Israeli public is increasingly displeased with Netanyahu’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying economic fallout, according to a separate television poll published Sunday evening.

Israelis increasingly disapprove of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with a solid majority now saying Netanyahu’s handling of the crisis is ‘not good’.

The poll, which was conducted by the Midgam polling agency and published by Channel 12 Sunday evening, found a major reversal in Netanyahu’s approval rating with regards to his coronavirus policies.

Concerning Netanyahu’s handling of the economic aspects of the virus, 35% say they approve, while 58% give him a thumbs down.

In the May poll, 53% approved and 43% disapproved.

The poll also found that support has waned for new restrictions on the public at large aimed at combating the spread of the coronavirus.

When asked whether they support new restrictions on the public in light of the recent increase in the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus, just 40% of respondents answered in the affirmative.

Respondents were also asked about the government’s recent controversial decision to hand Netanyahu retroactive tax breaks for his and his family’s personal expenses.

When asked, 56% said they opposed Netanyahu’s request, while just 24% supported it. Even among those who identified as right-wing, 45% opposed the request and 34% backed it.

In a separate television poll, Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party sinks to single digits, while Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud would secure a majority together with right-wing religious parties if an election were held at this time.

The survey by Channel 13 was conducted on the backdrop of reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is looking for a pretext to dissolve the unity government to prevent Defense Minister Gantz from becoming premier in November 2021, and due to coalition disagreements with Blue and White.

Netanyahu is reportedly interested in fresh elections — the fourth since April 2019 — due to favorable polls. Sunday’s poll was no different and predicted a landslide victory for the premier’s right-wing bloc.

According to the Channel 13 survey, Likud would pick up 38 seats if elections were held today, followed by Opposition Leader Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party and the predominantly Arab Joint List, with 16 seats a piece.

The national-religious Yamina party, which backed Netanyahu in the elections but was left out of the new government, shoots up to 11 seats in the poll, up from the five seats it now has.

Blue and White would get nine seats, its worst showing since Gantz agreed to join a Netanyahu-led government after repeatedly ruling out sitting in a coalition headed by the premier, due to his indictment on graft charges.

MK Avigdor Liberman’s right-wing secularist Yisrael Beytenu party received eight seats in the poll, as did the ultra-Orthodox Shas.

United Torah Judaism, another Haredi party, and the left-wing Meretz were each forecast to receive seven seats.

Between them, Likud, Yamina, Shas and UTJ would have 64 seats, enough for a governing majority in the 120-seat Knesset.

Source: TOI