Half of Israelis think government should have continued Gaza operation, poll shows

Same survey indicates Netanyahu’s alliance with Yisrael Beytenu lost some support after Pillar of Defense, but still in position to form next government

A poll released Friday shows that about half of Israelis think the government should have continued its military offensive against Palestinian terrorists in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

The independent Maagar Mohot poll shows 49 percent of respondents feel Israel should have kept going after squads who fire rockets into Israel. Thirty-one percent supported the government’s decision to stop. Twenty percent had no opinion.

Twenty-nine percent thought Israel should have sent ground troops to invade Gaza.

Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire two days ago.

The poll of 503 respondents had an error margin of 4.5 percentage points.

The same survey showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party and electoral partner Yisrael Beytenu losing some support, but his hard-line bloc still able to form the next government. Elections are scheduled for Jan. 22.

Several snap polls have shown Israeli disappointment at the outcome of Operation Pillar of Defense, and a slight drop in support for Netanyahu and his government.

Netanyahu’s chief rival in the last elections, former Kadima party chief Tzipi Livni, is expected to announce her bid for the Knesset as the head of a new party early next week, after former prime minister Ehud Olmert officially bows out of the race.

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