Sixty-two percent of Israelis support the newly agreed upon Likud-Blue and White unity government, while just 22% oppose it, according to a survey released Tuesday.
The coalition deal inked Monday between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White chief Benny Gantz was supported by 80% of Likud voters and 57% of Blue and White voters, the Channel 13 poll found.
Despite running on a campaign to oust Netanyahu from power, Gantz announced last month that he was prepared to join a government with the Likud leader after all — to battle the coronavirus and help protect Israeli democracy.
His move caused a split in his party, with former partners Yair Lapid and Moshe Ya’alon breaking away. Lapid is now set to lead the Knesset opposition.
Lapid on Tuesday accused Gantz of perpetrating “the worst act of fraud in the history of this country” by joining forces with Netanyahu.
Gantz later defended his decision, saying he himself would have preferred a “different government,” but it was the responsible thing to do given the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe.
“Some wanted to continue to move toward more and more elections and perhaps score political points… I and my colleagues could not stand by,” he said in a tacit criticism of his former political allies who chose not to join him in the new government and who have railed against his decision to sit in a government headed by Netanyahu.
Under the terms of the deal struck Monday, which will end over a year of political deadlock during which Israel has not had a permanent government, Gantz will become prime minister in 18 months. Until then, he will serve as defense minister and have veto power over most legislative and policy matters.
However, only 31% of respondents believed Netanyahu would honor the rotation deal requiring him vacate the Prime Minister’s Office; 41% believe he won’t do so and 23% said they don’t know.
Finally, 48% believe Gantz gave up more to strike the deal, while 25% said Netanyahu made greater concessions.
Channel 13 polled 710 Israelis and the survey had a 3.7% margin of error.