A plurality of Israelis prefer the prospective power-sharing government of Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid to new elections, but only a quarter believe it will succeed, a poll indicated Saturday.
The Midgam survey for Channel 12 showed 46 percent of Israelis prefer the emergent government to a fifth national vote, while 38% would like to go to the polls again. Fifteen percent said they did not know. On the right, a third of right-wing voters said they preferred the change government, while 55% prefer elections.
Meanwhile 42% think the government will be sworn in but won’t last, 16% think it won’t even be sworn in, and only 24% believe it will be sworn in and last.
The poll also showed Israelis trust Bennett more than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Asked who they trusted more, 44% said Bennett, while 35% said Netanyahu (21% did not know). On the right, 29% trust Bennett more, while 53% trust Netanyahu.
Asked who was to blame for the failure to form a right-wing government, 41% said Netanyahu, 24% blamed Bennett and 12% said Religious Zionism head Bezalel Smotrich.
Asked whether Netanyahu had been wrong to reject offers to allow a different candidate to temporarily lead Likud and the government, 52% answered in the affirmative and 21% said he should not have agreed. On the right, 46% said Netanyahu was wrong and 25% said he was right.
Finally, the poll also showed a plurality of Israelis oppose Islamist Arab party Ra’am joining the coalition, 48% to 40%.
The survey was conducted on June 3 among 507 adults representative of the population at large, with a margin of error of 4.4%.
According to multiple TV reports Friday, the eight-party coalition that aims to oust Netanyahu appears increasingly likely to secure the necessary majority support in the Knesset.
The assessment among all members of the “change bloc,” led by Prime Minister-designate Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, is that the coalition will indeed be sworn in, Channel 12 said, with a wafer-thin 61-59 majority.
Channel 12 said that the MK deemed potentially most problematic, Yamina’s Nir Orbach, on Friday told several people who are trying to persuade him to vote against the coalition: “Don’t place your expectations on me. Unless there is some dramatic change, I intend to enable the establishment of this government, either by actively backing it [in the Knesset vote] or by resigning from the Knesset.”
Were Orbach to resign, the Yamina lawmaker who would take his place is Shirley Pinto, who has said repeatedly that she strongly supports the planned government.
Channel 13 also reported that Orbach will either vote for the government or resign from the Knesset, paving the way for Pinto to take his place and back it.
Since the confidence vote is only likely to be held on June 14, however, and since the coalition is heading to a 61-59 majority, whereby a single defection could doom it, the potential for the picture to change cannot be discounted, in part because the various coalition agreements have not been finalized, and especially given the potential for Israel’s fast-moving political and security reality to change within days, hours or even minutes.
Lapid announced to President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday night that he and his allies had mustered a majority coalition. But the Knesset will only be formally notified to this effect on Monday, June 7. By law, the Knesset Speaker, Likud’s Yariv Levin, then has up to a week to schedule the confidence vote in the new government, and is expected to use that full period in order to give Netanyahu and his allies maximal time to try to thwart it.
Netanyahu, who has held power for over 12 years, in addition to a three-year stint from 1996-1999, is urging right-wing members of the emerging coalition to bolt from it before it can be voted in. His ally, Likud minister Tzachi Hanegbi, said Friday that Likud would “fight to the end” to prevent it if possible.