42% of right-wing voters favor a unity government – poll
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42% of right-wing voters favor a unity government – poll

Opposition is highest among supporters of Likud and religious parties, according to IDI survey

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, waves with his wife Sara after voting during parliamentary elections in Jerusalem on April 9, 2019. (AP/Ariel Schalit, Pool)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, waves with his wife Sara after voting during parliamentary elections in Jerusalem on April 9, 2019. (AP/Ariel Schalit, Pool)

Despite overall opposition, more than 40 percent of right-wing voters support the establishment of a unity government, the Israel Democracy Institute said on Monday.

Rolling out the results of a survey of right-wing voters conducted on its behalf in late June by the Rafi Smith Institute, the IDI reported that 42 percent of respondents indicated that they would support a coalition between rivals Likud and Blue and White.

The poll queried 1,063 right-wing voters from April’s election who supported Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism, Yisrael Beytenu, Union of Right-Wing Parties, Kulanu, New Right, Zehut, or Gesher. It was conducted June 24-26, 2019.

Israel’s political landscape has shifted since then. Gesher has moved to the left, merging with Labor in July, and it is unclear how many of the party’s voters in April still support it. Meanwhile, New Right has merged with the Union of Right-Wing Parties to form the United Right.

According to the poll released Monday, 44% of right-wingers were opposed to a unity government while 14% had no opinion. The majority of voters for Gesher (83%), Kulanu (71%), Yisrael Beytenu (61%) and New Right (51%) supported a unity government.

On the other hand, 44% of Likud voters opposed a unity government, as did supporters of the Union of Right-wing Parties (78%), UTJ (67%), Shas (43%) and Zehut (46%).

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and leader of the Yisrael Beytenu political party Avigdor Liberman on May 25, 2016 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his opposition to a unity government with the centrist Blue and White party, rejecting a push for such a coalition by Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman.

Liberman has vowed to bring about a government consisting of his party, Likud and Blue and White that does not include ultra-Orthodox factions if no one can form a coalition after the elections without Yisrael Beytenu.

A majority of the Israeli public opposes a unity government led by Netanyahu that brings together Likud party and Blue and White, a poll published by the Walla news site early last week found.

According to Walla, views regarding a unity government among self-described right-wingers stood at 37% support and 48% opposition, while 15% didn’t know.

The IDI poll also found what it described as “overwhelming support for retaining judicial review.”

Despite concerted efforts by right-wing politicians to blunt the power of the judiciary, 43% of right-wingers opposed additional political power for elected officials at the expense of the judicial branch of government, while 47% supported such moves.

‎Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut (C) and other judges on the court, ahead of a hearing on March 14, 2019. (Hadas Parush/ Flash90)

The majority of supporters of UTJ (65%) and Shas (55%), as well as nearly half of Likud and New Right voters (at 47% and 46% respectively) were in favor of such additional power while majorities of Yisrael Beytenu (52%), Kulanu (70%) and Gesher (85%) voters were opposed.

However, despite the significant split on this issue, the IDI found that “all right-wing voters overwhelmingly support maintaining judicial review and the courts’ supervision over executive and legislative branches (67%), compared to 24% who think this is unnecessary.”

Sixty percent came out in favor of holding public hearings for judicial appointments to the Supreme Court while 23% were opposed.

The majority of right-wing voters appeared opposed to efforts to grant Netanyahu immunity. There are three corruption cases in which charges have been announced against the prime minister, pending a hearing. One of the cases involves bribery charges.

According to IDI, 56% of right-wing voters, including 57% of Likud supporters, “agree that immunity for elected officials during their term in office creates inequality before the law among citizens.” Small majorities of URWP and UTJ voters supported an amended immunity law.

Fifty-three percent of those polled said that they supported Netanyahu remaining in office even if indicted, while 18% said that they thought he should resign under such circumstances. Twenty-one percent believed that he should leave office temporarily if indicted, returning only if acquitted.

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