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More Israelis prefer Ya’alon to Liberman as defense minister — polls

Majority of respondents in one survey say incumbent is better suited for post, while second survey shows less of a divide

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks with Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon during a session in the Knesset, June 2009  (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks with Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon during a session in the Knesset, June 2009 (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

More Israelis would prefer to see Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) keep his post than have Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman serve in that position, according to new polls.

Liberman is reported to have been offered — and to have accepted — the defense portfolio, which will see his six-seat party join the governing coalition, amid efforts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to expand his razor-thin coalition of 61 seats.

A Channel 10 poll Thursday found that just over half (51 percent) of Israelis believe Ya’alon is better suited to serve in the sensitive post, with just 27% saying Liberman would be better. Twenty-two percent said they did not know which politician was more suited for the position.

Fifty-two percent of respondents said they did not support the expected appointment of Liberman to the post, with 32% in favor. Sixteen percent said they did not know.

In a Channel 2 survey, however, Ya’alon had less of an edge over Liberman, with 38% of respondents saying they wanted the incumbent defense minister to stay in his post, and 35% preferring Liberman. Seventeen percent said neither and 10% didn’t know.

The Channel 2 poll also found that more Israelis (37%) wanted to see Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party join the coalition over Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Union (24%). Just 7% said they didn’t know which party they would want to see in the coalition, and 32% said neither.

The Channel 10 survey included 611 respondents, 497 of them Jews and 114 from the Arab community, and a margin of error of 4.1%

The Channel 2 poll had a margin of error of 4.4% and 502 respondents.

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