Former Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin is the most popular figure in the Israeli political establishment, followed closely by President Shimon Peres.
Rivlin, who served as Knesset speaker during the last two governments, and whom Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu replaced with former Diaspora affairs minister Yuli Edelstein, enjoys a public-approval rating of 75 percent, 1 point higher than Peres — the runner-up and last year’s most popular pol — according to a poll published in Haaretz on Monday.
The annual survey, conducted by Professor Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University, aimed to canvass Israeli opinion on 15 of the country’s key political, defense, justice and economic figures. The survey polled 473 respondents, with a margin of error of 4.6%.
Rivlin also scored the largest gain in popularity in the past year, with a jump of 9% approval among the poll’s respondents.
The joint third and fourth spots went to resigning Bank of Israel chief Stanley Fischer, who navigated the Israeli economy through the global financial downturn, and IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz. Both enjoyed an approval rating of 67%.
Israel’s newly reelected prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, proved moderately popular among respondents, garnering 48% approval, but scored a 5-point decline in popularity in the past year. One place ahead of him — in fifth place, with a 50% approval rate — was former defense minister, Ehud Barak.
At the far end of the popularity scale were the State Comptroller, Yosef Shapira, with only 21% popular approval; Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein with 28%; and Supreme Court President Asher Grunis with 29%.
The Haaretz report attributes the Shapira and the Grunis poor ratings to their recent appointments to their positions, having replaced Micha Lindenstrauss and Dorit Beinisch respectively last year, and because of their relative obscurity in public affairs.
Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman was the lowest polling politician, with 37% approval. The former foreign minister is expected to be reappointed as Israel’s top diplomat should he be cleared of the corruption charges against him.