Majority of Israelis back LGBT protests, new poll finds
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Majority of Israelis back LGBT protests, new poll finds

Survey demonstrates high levels of backing from Likud, Jewish Home supporters; most voters are dissatisfied with Israel’s response to airborne arson attacks from Gaza

Members of the LGBT community and supporters participate in a protest against a Knesset bill amendment denying surrogacy for same-sex couples, at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on July 22, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Members of the LGBT community and supporters participate in a protest against a Knesset bill amendment denying surrogacy for same-sex couples, at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on July 22, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

A majority of Israelis from across the political spectrum support the LGBT community’s fight to secure surrogacy rights for gay couples, a Hadashot TV news poll found.

The poll published Tuesday showed 56 percent of the public support the recent LGBT protests, while 33% oppose them. Though right-wing parties are traditionally seen as socially conservative, the poll showed 51% of Likud voters backed the protests, and perhaps more surprisingly, so did 58% of voters for Jewish Home, a largely religious party.

Support from centrist and left-wing parties was indeed substantially higher, with Zionist Union voters at 87% support, Yesh Atid at 89% and Meretz at 82%.

On Sunday night around 100,000 people rallied in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square to protest the exclusion of gay couples from a recently passed surrogacy law. Gay rights advocates and their supporters also observed an unprecedented one-day strike throughout the country.

A protest for LGBT rights at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on July 22, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

A majority of voters for ultra-Orthodox and Arab parties opposed the LGBT campaign, the Hadashot poll showed, though the latter appeared far less resolute: while United Torah Judaism and Shas registered 90% and 78% objection respectively, only 45% of voters for the Joint (Arab) List said they were against the protests outright. A third were either neutral or declined to answer, while 23% expressed support.

The poll also queried respondents on their attitudes towards government policy on the problem of incendiary kites and balloons launched into Israel from the Gaza Strip. These have sparked numerous fires and caused a tremendous amount of damage to fields in the surrounding Israeli communities.

Israel has responded with airstrikes on Hamas posts and launch squads, though there have been conspicuously few Gazan casualties, giving rise to speculation that the military is being careful to avoid actions that could escalate the violence.

File: Palestinian protester flies a kite loaded with an incendiary device towards Israel during a demonstration along the border with Israel east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on June 29, 2018 (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

A clear majority of Israelis, 70%, voiced dissatisfaction with current government action, while only 21% said they approved. The poll did not make clear the root of respondents’ dissatisfaction — presumably some feel Israel is being overly lenient, while others think its airstrikes are an overreaction.

Pollsters also asked respondents who they would vote for if elections were held today. Results were largely in keeping with previous polls.

Likud, the poll showed, would garner 30 seats, equal to its current number, though a little down on some recent polls. Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid would jump to 19 (compared to 11 now), Zionist Union would fall from 24 to 15, and the Joint (Arab) List would win 12 (currently 13).

Jewish Home would fall to 8 seats (10), while tied at 7 seats each would be UTJ (6), Kulanu (10) and Yisrael Beytenu (5).

Bringing up the rear with 5 seats each are Meretz (5), Shas (5) and the as-yet-unnamed party announced by Yisrael Beytenu dropout Orly Levy-Abekasis.

The Midgam poll interviewed 557 people representative of Israeli society, with a margin of error of 4.2%.

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