Only a fifth of Israelis think Israel “won” the eight-day conflict with Hamas that ended on Wednesday, and fewer than two-fifths feel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu handled the conflict well, according to an opinion poll taken Thursday.
The findings reflect disappointment among many Israelis that Operation Pillar of Defense ended with Hamas hailing victory and a sense that the Gaza-ruling terror group may not have been deterred for long from resuming its rocket fire on southern Israel.
In the survey, for Channel 2 news, 29% of those polled felt Hamas had been the winner in the conflict, 20% said Israel, 46% chose neither, and 5% had no answer.
Netanyahu’s performance was classified as good by 38%, not good by 28%, medium by 28%, and 6% did not venture an opinion.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak fared fairly similarly, with 40% giving him a rating of good, 25% not good, 29% medium, and 6% not making a classification.
Both men spoke on Thursday about a readiness to resume military attacks on Hamas if the ceasefire is not maintained, and insisted that the goals of the resort to force had been achieved.
In contrast to their mediocre ratings, the Israeli public felt IDF chief of General Staff Benny Gantz performed well in the conflict. He got a rating of good from 79%, with only 4% calling his performance bad, 10% classifying it as medium, and 7% offering no opinion.
An earlier opinion poll Thursday, examining voting preferences ahead of the January 22 elections, showed Netanyahu’s Likud, which is partnered by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party, slipping to 33 seats; the two parties’ combined representation in the outgoing Knesset totals 42 seats. In the course of the conflict, polls had shown Likud-Yisrael Beytenu heading for 38-41 seats.
Thursday’s poll showed votes for the Likud going instead to more right-wing parties, with Netanyahu therefore still looking well set for reelection but at the head of a more hawkish coalition.