Most Israelis see no reason for new elections
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Only a quarter of Israelis anticipate talks with PA could yield peace deal in coming years

Most Israelis see no reason for new elections

Survey finds majority would vote for the right; few understand recently resolved coalition crisis over public broadcaster

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu votes at a polling station in Jerusalem on the method of elections within the Likud party for the upcoming government elections. June 14, 2015.(Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu votes at a polling station in Jerusalem on the method of elections within the Likud party for the upcoming government elections. June 14, 2015.(Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Most Israelis don’t think there is any justification for holding early elections, according to a poll released Tuesday.

Following a coalition crisis during which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to dissolve the government and call elections, the monthly Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University Peace Index found that almost 70 percent of Jewish Israelis thought there was no rationale for such a move. Among Arab Israelis, on the other hand, more than half said they saw a need for early elections.

According to the survey, if elections were to be held in the near future, some 70% of Jews would want either a right-wing or a center-right government to take office, while 57% of Arab Israelis would prefer to see a center-left or left-wing government. Almost 80% of the respondents as a whole thought that either a center-right or right-wing government had a greater chance of taking office if elections were held soon.

Claims by politicians that most people don’t understand the controversy over the new broadcast authority that nearly brought down the government are well-founded, the poll found: 53% of Jewish Israelis and 60% of Arabs didn’t know what the dispute was about.

The Israeli Broadcast Authority (IBA) studios in Jerusalem. November 24, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
The Israeli Broadcast Authority (IBA) studios in Jerusalem. November 24, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The fight over the new broadcast authority known as Kan was resolved last Thursday with an agreement whereby the soon-to-be-launched corporation will lose its centerpiece news division, although protests and lawsuits over the deal are ongoing.

Some 61% of Jews and 84.5% of Arabs thought that the prime minister’s motive for the shakeup in the Israel Broadcasting Authority and the new regulator Kan was his desire to strengthen his control of the media. Only 24.7% of the general public felt that Netanyahu’s goal was to improve the balance and quality of the media.

Over 60% of all respondents said that the government has no right to interfere in the contents and appointments of public broadcaster systems even though it finances them.

Peace on the horizon?

A majority of Arab respondents said they thought US President Donald Trump would not continue the previous administration’s two-states-for-two-peoples policy for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Jewish Israelis were more evenly split, with 43% thinking Trump would seek a two-state solution and 41% saying he would not.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during the state funeral of late president Shimon Peres, held at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, September 30, 2016. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during the state funeral of late president Shimon Peres, held at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, September 30, 2016. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

The survey found little hope for peace in the near term, with only 26% of all respondents saying they believed that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would lead to peace in the coming years, and over 70% saying they would not.

With regard to expanding West Bank settlements without consent of the US, 55% of Jews thought that it would prompt a painful backlash against Israel by the Trump administration.

The Midgam Research Institute conducted the survey among 600 respondents, with a margin of error of 4.1% at a confidence level of 95%.

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