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Geocartography conducted a poll that was published by Globes on Jan 9 2017.

If elections were held today who would you vote for?

Current Knesset seats in [brackets]

27 [11] Yesh Atid
22 [30] Likud
13 [24] Zionist Union
13 [13] The Joint (Arab) List
10 [06] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
09 [08] Bayit Yehudi
07 [06] Yisrael Beitenu
07 [05] Meretz
06 [10] Kulanu
06 [07] Shas

60 [67] Current Right-Religious Coalition
60 [53] Current Center-Left-Arab Opposition

Note #1: 47% of Likud voters express certainty about it, compared to 33.5% of Yesh Atid voters.

Smith conducted a poll that was broadcast by Channel 2 on Jan 7 2017.

If Netanyahu needs to resign from his position which of the following ministers should replace him?

45% Don’t know or None, 15% Bennett, 11% Erdan, 9% Kahlon, 6% Liberman, 4% Regev, 4% Y. Katz, 3% Edelstein, 3% Steinitz

If Netanyahu needs to resign from his position and general elections were held, who do you think is worthy of being Prime Minister?

28% Don’t know, 22% Lapid, 14% Bennett, 10% Saar, 7% Yaalon, 6% Kahlon, 5% Liberman, 4% Erdan, 4% Herzog

Note: Edelstein is Speaker and is not a Minister.

Analyzing Israeli politics is perhaps one of the most difficult analytical jobs due to its complexity and flexibility. There is a debate on what the parameters and data actually are, and the fact that the rules of the game constantly change do not help matters. The continuing education required to do the job properly includes following an extremely wide spectrum of media coverage and contacts with all ten Knesset factions. If you ignore one major media outlet or even the narrative of the smallest Knesset faction, you are missing a crucial piece of the complex puzzle, and that exposes your neglect to the Knesset insiders. It is easy to understand why most analysts focus on the past because it is the safer option, and an analyst can always rely on choosing a time period where he or she was “up to date” and “in the know”. The expectations are complicated when you are predicting the future, especially in Israel, because no date is set in stone and the process is always fluid, so you are given relatively more rope. Analyzing the present is always the trickiest and requires the most skill. It is possible that the situation being analyzed is actually a smokescreen and one must ask oneself if these situations are truly newsworthy. The colorful comment by a backbencher can become headline news while the new tax law that was passed that affects everyone is deemed not newsworthy. There are many in the press that tend to exaggerate because they need to write a new story every day, so they find new angles to the same stories, sensationalize every disagreement into a crisis and add as many descriptive catchy adjectives as possible in the rumor mill. Many politicians are happy to comply with those types of journalists and shift the public focus away from what they are really working on. The latest example is how the biannual budget passed under the radar. What makes my Weekend Perspective pieces more daring is that I often choose to analyze the past, present and future. I am due for another piece, so here you go.

Instead of looking towards the next, 21st, Knesset, in this piece I will examine the six influencers of the current, 20th, Knesset. That means political players like Gideon Saar, Moshe Yaalon and Nir Barkat will have to take a back seat. I suggest that those interested in the 21st Knesset pay attention as well because the way the following six people have influenced and continue to influence the Knesset will determine how the elections for the 21st Knesset will look.

How did I determine the six influencers?

The Knesset has 120 MKs, and each one has a certain level of influence. Every MK knows that the level of influence they have is limited by the leader of their party, and that a majority of the public does not even know the names of the other MKs on each list. Seventeen political parties are represented in the Knesset, but the public doesn’t elect parties, they elect factions, otherwise known as lists. It was the leaders of the lists who were invited to the televised debate, received fancy online graphics, were featured in all polls, and were invited by the President to nominate a Prime Minister candidate. Despite their election campaign promises, both Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni knew that the Prime Minister would be chosen among the ten faction leaders, not the seventeen party leaders. It is the leaders of the lists that sign the coalition deals that form the government. So, are the ten faction leaders the most influential? Well, they are during Phase 2 of the Prime Minister Selection process, but that changes after the government is formed. There are #2s on lists that are party leaders, such as Livni, Moshe Gafni, Ahmed Tibi, and Uri Ariel, who are quite influential as well. The difference is that a faction leader has the ability to both influence the internal Knesset agenda and set the external public agenda. Some players might have more internal influence, but the media will always give more weight to Herzog over Livni and to Naftali Bennett over Ariel. Additionally, not all ten Knesset list leaders are influencers during the course of the term. If you take a look at the media coverage there are six names that will show up in just about every news broadcast and morning newspaper. The influence of the Joint List’s Aymen Odeh or Meretz’s Zahava Gal-On is minimal both internally and externally. The influence of UTJ’s Litzman and Shas’s Aryeh Deri is more significant as leaders of lists in the coalition, but the lack of ambition to reach the highest level automatically reduces their external interest a great deal. I would make the case that Litzman and Deri wield significant influence internally, but their ranking is harmed by media shares that are less than impressive. I give external influence more weight because that is what a majority of MKs do as well. As one Likud Minister told me during the days he was a backbencher, it used to be that the press covered the Knesset; today, the Knesset covers the press.

That leaves us with six influencers – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Opposition Leader Herzog, Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, and Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Netanyahu is in his fourth term. His three consecutive terms have already given him the record for the longest consecutive term of any Israeli prime minister. If this government fulfills its current term that is set to expire in 2019, Netanyahu will have served for over 13 years, and will pass Ben-Gurion to become the longest serving Prime Minister in Israel’s history. Love him or hate him, even if Netanyahu does not pass Israel’s founding father, he will likely be remembered as one of the most influential Prime Ministers that Israel has ever had. The influence of a Prime Minister is always considerable. However, it is under Netanyahu that the influence of the Prime Minister’s Office grew both in terms of number of personnel and in terms of the concentration of government authority. Netanyahu serves as a Prime Minister with more official authority than his predecessors. Additionally, over the course of the 20th Knesset he has served as minister over a number of various portfolios. Today he holds only two, he is both the Foreign Minister and the Communications Minister. Although it is still early, but based on the KJPA (KnessetJeremy Poll Average), if elections were held today his current coalition would re-elect him for a fifth term.

Isaac Herzog

Opposition Leader Herzog has been both an influential and tragic figure in the 20th Knesset. In the 2015 elections it was the Herzog-Livni duo that gave Netanyahu his toughest fight since Livni defeated Netanyahu in Phase 1 of the 2009 Knesset elections. Following the election the Zionist Union gained three seats, mostly from former Yesh Atid and Meretz voters, and Herzog started off leading an opposition to Netanyahu’s most narrow majority 61-59. This was a great field position to start in compared to Herzog’s predecessor Shelly Yacimovich, who became opposition leader in 2012 when Netanyahu enjoyed his widest coalition support of 94-26. Herzog had few successes in embarrassing the coalition considering the narrow gap. Herzog chose to blame Liberman for not falling in line with the rest of the opposition. Yacimovich, who was in a much more difficult position during her time as opposition leader, was able to find ways to cooperate with the right flank of her opposition, including Kahanist MK Michael Ben Ari, when it was necessary to influence government action. It didn’t take long for Herzog, a minister in Netanyahu’s government from 2009-2011, to start negotiating so that he could return to Netanyahu’s cabinet. Even after Netanyahu chose Liberman over Herzog, it didn’t stop Herzog from trying to enter the coalition that he was supposed to be toppling. After it became clear that Herzog wasn’t going to join the government he focused on dealing with his internal political competition by pushing off his leadership election. The last time a Labor Party Leader led his party into two consecutive elections was when Shimon Peres led the party into four straight elections in 1977, 1981, 1984 and 1988. Herzog rejoiced this week as the deadline passed to join the Labor Party in time to run for the July primary. Neither former IDF Chief of Staff Gaby Ashkenazi nor Benny Gantz joined the party. Yacimovich might run for the Histadrut Union Chair instead of against Herzog. Herzog feels confident that he can beat the current crop of hopefuls that include Amir Peretz, Erel Margalit, Livni, Eitan Cabel, Omer Bar-Lev, Ron Huldai, and newcomer Avi Gabai. If there are enough candidates running then Herzog has a shot at reaching the second round. In Labor primaries the first and second rounds are different ballgames, and that is Herzog’s only shot. The Zionist Union under Herzog’s leadership has dropped in the polls and is currently tied for 5th place in the KJPA with 9 seats. Opposition Leader Herzog is in the spotlight, but for the most part he has squandered it. If he is re-elected internally the end of the party could be near, and if he isn’t he will serve as the punching bag for his successor to rally up potential voters. Despite his lose-lose situation, the influence of his position requires everyone to follow him, both internally and externally. His formal position allows him to address the Knesset during the key dates on the calendar with the prime real estate of following every Prime Minister speech. His support in the Histadrut has given him key influence in the Central Committee, and that has empowered him to navigate through each one of his mistakes and scandals. The leader of any political party that has primaries is influential because of the dynamic of those choosing to challenge the leadership.

Yair Lapid

In 2013 Lapid started a party of relative nobodies and entered the Knesset with 19 seats. To me he has always seemed to be someone who wants power but is not quite sure what to do with it. He ran originally wanting to be Finance Minister, but instead requested Foreign Minister. He was convinced to take the Finance Ministry, and he made many mistakes by falling into rookie traps. He started the term with an alliance with Naftali Bennett, and finished it with an alliance with Livni. Lapid got the short-stick of the three-bill-bargain when he agreed to implement his bill far into the future, while Bennett and Liberman’s bills were implemented immediately. In 2015, Bennett ran on the record of his Basic Law: National Referendum, Liberman ran on his raising the electoral threshold, and Lapid ran on asking people to vote for him so that his sharing of the burden law would not be repealed. In his first term, Lapid had at first prioritized a government without the Haredi parties at pretty much any cost and by the end of his term was not shy from pursuing policies that led Netanyahu to fire him and call early elections. Netanyahu offered Lapid the Foreign Ministry after the 2015 elections, and Lapid rejected it. With Netanyahu also serving as Foreign Minister, Lapid has decided instead to play a Shadow Foreign Minister. Netanyahu keeps offering Lapid the portfolio that he has desired since 2013, but Lapid keeps rejecting the offer. Lapid wants to be Prime Minister, but he needs a pathway to get there. He understands that he isn’t going to be able to run for Prime Minister based on his term as Finance Minister and that he doesn’t have the military career or the necessary hawkish views to be a successful Defense Minister. That leaves Foreign Minister, but Lapid understands that his popularity is based on his opposition to Netanyahu. Serving as a Shadow Foreign Minister kills two birds with one stone. He is acting like a Foreign Minister while serving in the opposition. For Lapid Foreign Minister is just not a good enough offer anymore. He wants to run in the next election for Prime Minister, Opposition Leader or bust. Lapid has skillfully outperformed Herzog in the opposition and is viewed by many as the unofficial Opposition Leader in the Knesset. The polls view him as the true alternative to Netanyahu as well. Time is on Lapid’s side. In an average of all 33 polls since the election Yesh Atid has 20.6 seats. Yesh Atid had a 24 KJPA for October and November. Lapid’s party averaged 26 seats in December’s KJPA. Based on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s routine public remarks it is clear that he views Lapid as his true competition. Lapid’s current problem is that even with his success in today’s polls he would not be able to form a coalition because he has not been able to win right-wing voters. His future problem is that a new Labor leader could steal back some of his newest left voters. His previous #2 Shai Piron resigned because the opposition wasn’t challenging enough for him. He understands that he can’t go into the next election with his current #2 Yael German, a former Meretz Herzliya Mayor, and that the spot needs to go to a security figure. It seems doubtful that former military #1s Ashkenazi, Gantz, Yaalon or even Ehud Barak would agree to be Lapid’s #2. There are other security names on the market such as Shaul Mofaz, Dan Halutz, Matan Vilnai, Uzi Dayan or perhaps Yair Naveh, but that won’t cut it because none of them have proven that they carry any significant weight in terms of public opinion. The question remains if Lapid’s biggest challenge moving forward is the lack of a security-minded #2 necessary to crack those right-wing votes or deciding what it is he would actually do differently on a policy level if elected Prime Minister.

Moshe Kahlon

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon is an enigma to many analysts. Despite his rookie backbencher status he was a leading voice in the Likud rebels group that opposed Sharon’s disengagement from Gaza in 2005. Kahlon would cash in on that fame and come out of nowhere to win the Likud MK primary in 2006. He would also serve as Chairman of the Likud Central Committee until his recess from Knesset in 2013. He was by far the most popular minister in Netanyahu’s second term for reducing Israeli cell phone bills. Netanyahu was so pleased with Kahlon that he gave him an additional portfolio. Kahlon held consistent right-wing positions during his ten years as a Likud MK. After a two-year-recess he returned to politics, explained that he had a feud with Netanyahu, and started his own center party. He was able to convince former IDF Major-General Yoav Galant to be his #2 and actually ran in the elections to replace Lapid as Finance Minister. As a Knesset veteran, Kahlon realized that there is no center button in the Knesset, so he branded his center party by taking relatively right views on national security and relatively left views on social issues. He made Herzog’s life difficult by publicly refusing to sit with the Joint List, which was a sound electoral decision for Kulanu. He won ten seats and received exactly what he asked for in the coalition negotiations. His main problem has been that the issues he campaigned on, such as the housing crisis and the dominance of the Israeli bank on consumers, are more complex than the cell phone industry. Kahlon has bought himself time to work on these issues thanks to the biannual budget, and the press routinely views him as the man of reason in Netanyahu’s cabinet. Kahlon’s Kulanu Party is the senior partner in Netanyahu’s coalition government, but they only have two ministers. Kahlon and Galant do not always get along with each other, and other Kulanu MKs have announced or indicated that they will not seek re-election. Even if elections are in 2019, it will be difficult to show progress on the issues on which Kahlon campaigned. It is possible that Kahlon will merge his party back into Likud or run in an alliance with Lapid. My money would be on the former. Kahlon’s biggest problem is that although the press, courts, academia and international community view his comments favorably, his voter base does not. A great deal of his voter base is unhappy with his lack of success in improving the housing market and prefers that he stick to the issues he was elected on. The key for Kahlon will not be his statements on upholding the standing of the courts. The key will be on how his results shape up when elections come around.

Avigdor Liberman

Defense Minister Liberman is exactly where he wants to be. He wants to run for Prime Minister after Netanyahu is finished, and his resume to get there is now complete. Two terms as Foreign Minister and one term as Defense Minister is not bad for a guy who entered the Knesset in 1999 as the leader of a 4-MK-list that included two parties. Liberman has had a love-hate relationship with Netanyahu. He has served as confidant, campaigner, and later the PMO’s CEO. He left to create his own party and chose to align himself with Moledet’s Rehavam Ze’evi instead of Likud. Prime Minister Sharon, to make sure he had a majority in his cabinet, would fire Liberman and Benny Elon (Ze’evi’s successor after his assassination) so that he could move forward with the disengagement. Liberman served as the senior coalition partner in Netanyahu’s second term, and the duo ran on a joint list for Netanyahu’s third term. Liberman realized that to become Defense Minister and perhaps Prime Minister he would have to become less right-wing and turn to the center. He attempted to move himself away from the right by disposing of the right flank of Yisrael Beitenu – the former leader of the Likud rebels Uzi Landau, the son of Israel’s most right-wing Prime Minister Yair Shamir, and the religious Zionist settler David Rotem. The result was that Yisrael Beitenu became the biggest loser of the last election dropping from 13 seats to six. Liberman has been a hawk internally, but has maintained a more moderate persona externally. Liberman might have the resume on paper, but the Israeli public does not seem ready to view him as a serious contender for Prime Minister. However, it would not be wise to count him out just yet, because as Defense Minister Liberman is the most senior minister in the current government. Liberman has the opposite plan of Lapid. Lapid is trying to brand himself as the alternative, while Liberman views himself as Netanyahu’s eventual successor. The key for Liberman is to use his position as Defense Minister for people to view him more seriously. He needs to promote externally the influence that he is wielding internally. That could be the difference for him.

Naftali Bennett

Bennett is serving in the typical religious Zionist role as Education Minister, but he is not your typical religious Zionist. Unlike the former NRP leader Zevulun Hammer, who served as Education Minister three times in 1977-1984, 1990-1992, and 1996-1998, Bennett more resembles a nationalist version of Abba Eban, also an “Anglo-Israeli”, who used the Education Ministry (1960-1963) as a stepping stone to become Deputy Prime Minister (1963-1966), Foreign Minister (1966-1974), and a Prime Minister contender. Netanyahu’s former COS has become Haaretz’s poster-boy for everything that is wrong with Israeli politics, and Bennett is taking full advantage of it. It was Bennett who was quoted more often than any other Israeli politician by John Kerry in his recent policy speech, implying that Bennett and people who think like him are a problem. Responding to the opposition’s no-confidence motion on Israel’s failed foreign policy, Bennett gave a 20-minute speech to the Knesset on Monday in which he quoted Friday’s Smith Poll. What some analysts might have missed is Bennett’s statement that according to the poll he actually views himself in the center of public opinion. Bennett claimed that the 39% of the Israeli public that answered that they are in favor of annexing all of the territories to Israel to create one state for two peoples are flanking him on the right. He labeled to the left of him the 30% who favor two states for two peoples, a division based on 1967 lines, and an arrangement where the Temple Mount is under Palestinian sovereignty and the Western Wall is under Israeli sovereignty. Bennett said that he represents the 31% that called for annexing the blocs and went on to describe his vision for annexing Area C. Bennett’s message was that Kerry’s assessment that the solution is an “either-or-scenario” between two states and one state is incorrect, that there is an actual viable third path forward. The question is whether the public agrees with Bennett’s narrative or Kerry’s. If the public, and perhaps the next US administration, decides to adopt Bennett’s narrative, Israel will have its first serious candidate for Prime Minister that wears a yarmulke. If it doesn’t work, Education Minister is not the worst job to fall back on.

Most internal polls are examining the public opinion of the six influencers of the 20th Knesset: Netanyahu, Herzog, Lapid, Kahlon, Liberman and Bennett. The 21st Knesset will look different, but especially after passing the biannual budget, it is time to live in the present and focus on who is influencing right now.

Note: I wrote this before the latest poll.
You can read the latest KJPA below:
https://knessetjeremy.com/knessetjeremy-polling-average-the-israeli-poll-of-polls/

Teleseker conducted a poll that was broadcast by Channel 1 on Jan 5 2017.

If elections were held today who would you vote for?

Current Knesset seats in [brackets]

26 [11] Yesh Atid
22 [30] Likud
14 [08] Bayit Yehudi
13 [24] Zionist Union
12 [13] The Joint (Arab) List
09 [06] Yisrael Beitenu
07 [07] Shas
06 [06] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
06 [05] Meretz
05 [10] Kulanu

63 [67] Current Right-Religious Coalition
57 [53] Current Center-Left-Arab Opposition

Additional Questions:

Which candidate is your preference for the position of Prime Minister?

30% Don’t know
23% Netanyahu
21% Lapid
7% Bennett
6% Yaalon
5% Liberman
4% Herzog
4% Barak

Did you agree with the verdict?

51% No, 37% Yes, 12% Don’t know

Did the position of the IDF COS and other senior IDF officials influence the verdict?

60% Yes, 24% No, 16% Don’t know

Should Elor Azaria receive a pardon?

62% Yes, 25% No, 13% Don’t know

Midgam conducted a poll that was broadcast by the Knesset Channel on Jan 5 2017.

In a democratic regime are you allowed to criticize the government policy, such as the government policy in the territories?

83% Yes, 7% No, 10% Don’t know

Is Education Minister Naftali Bennett correct in his initiative to keep “Breaking The Silence” out of schools?

64% Yes, 23% No, 13% Don’t know

Are there organizations that are affiliated with the right and left that should be prohibited from entering schools and presenting their views in front of students?

75% Yes – prohibit them, 16% No – allow all organizations, 9% Don’t know

Is it fitting for the Education Minister who has a political affiliation to interfere in the curriculum or should he leave it for the professional staff that work in education?

68% Staff, 25% Minister, 7% Don’t know

Do you agree with the activity of Breaking The Silence?

71% No, 11% Don’t know, 10% Yes

Is the initiative to prevent Breaking The Silence from entering schools part of a trend to limit the activity against the government policy?

47% No, 33% Yes, 20% Don’t know

Statnet (former Dialog) conducted a poll of 615 people with a 3.9% margin of error that was broadcast by Channel 10 on Dec 30 2016.

If elections were held today who would you vote for?

Current Knesset seats in [brackets]

27 [11] Yesh Atid
23 [30] Likud
12 [13] The Joint (Arab) List
12 [08] Bayit Yehudi
10 [06] Yisrael Beitenu
08 [24] Zionist Union
08 [07] Shas
07 [10] Kulanu
07 [06] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
06 [05] Meretz

67 [67] Current Right-Religious Coalition
53 [53] Current Center-Left-Arab Opposition

31% My vote could still change

Who is the most suited to be Prime Minister?

27% Netanyahu
22% None
15% Lapid
11% Don’t know
9% Yaalon
7% Bennett
5% Herzog
4% Barak

Poll #1: Smith conducted a poll of 500 people with a 4.5% margin of error that was broadcast by Reshet Bet Radio on December 30th 2016. The poll was conducted on 28 December 2016, the day of the Kerry Speech.

 

Which of the following three options to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is acceptable to you?

39% Annex all of the territory to Israel. One state for two peoples.

31% Annex the settlement blocks and create a Palestinian State in the other territories. Including eastern Jerusalem.

30% Two states for two peoples. Division based on 1967 lines. Temple Mount under Palestinian sovereignty. Western Wall under Israeli sovereignty.

 

Jewish voters: 40% Support 1 State vs 27% that support 2 States.

Arab voters: Great majority for 2 States.

 

Shas voters: About 80% support for 1 State

Bayit Yehudi voters: 62% 1 State, 28% Settlement Blocks, 10% 2 States

Likud voters: 51% 1 State, 29% Settlement Blocks, 20% 2 States

Yesh Atid voters: 42% 2 States, 33% Settlement Blocks, 25% 1 State

Zionist Union voters: 47% 2 States, 46% Settlement Blocks, 8% 1 State

Joint List voters: 87% support 2 States.

 

Is the response of Benjamin Netanyahu to the UNSC decision such as cancelling official visits and imposing sanctions against certain countries, among other things, acceptable to you or not acceptable?

56% Acceptable (34% Pretty acceptable, 23% Very acceptable), 44% Not Acceptable (23% Not very acceptable, 20% Not at all acceptable)

 

Jewish voters: 60% Acceptable.

Arab voters: Majority answered not acceptable.

 

Bayit Yehudi and Shas voters – About 90% Acceptable

Likud voters: 77% Acceptable, 23% Not Acceptable

Yisrael Beitenu and Kulanu voters: About 64% Acceptable, 36% Not Acceptable

Zionist Union voters: 82% Not Acceptable, 18% Acceptable

Meretz and Joinst List voters: Almost everyone answered Not Acceptable.

 

Please grade each one of the following ten ministers on a 1-10 scale based on how well they are doing their job, with 10 being highest and 1 the lowest (same poll conducted in August):

1st 6.46 (6.29) – Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (UTJ) – (9% no opinion)

Bayit Yehudi voters: 7.58, Likud voters: 6.7, Zionist Union voters: 5.91, Yesh Atid voters 5.66

 

2nd 6.14 (5.71) – Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) – (11% no opinion)

Likud voters: 6.65, Bayit Yehudi voters: 6.64, Zionist Union voters: 5.55, Yesh Atid voters 5.37

 

3rd 5.80 (5.09) – Homeland Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) – (13% no opinion)

Likud voters: 6.65, Bayit Yehudi voters: 6.6, Yesh Atid voters 5.29, Zionist Union voters: 4.75

 

4th 5.72 (5.51) – Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) – (11% no opinion)

Bayit Yehudi voters: 7.74, Likud voters: 6.67, Yesh Atid voters 4.98, Zionist Union voters: 3.77

 

5th 5.38 (5.06) – Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beitenu) (10% no opinion)

Bayit Yehudi voters: 6.23, Likud voters: 6.14, Yesh Atid voters 5.11, Zionist Union voters: 4.16

 

6th 5.30 (5.36) – Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) (6% no opinion)

Bayit Yehudi voters: 7.58, Likud voters: 6.35, Yesh Atid voters 4.12, Zionist Union voters: 3.56

 

7th 5.15 (4.66) – Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) (5% no opinion)

Likud voters: 7.24, Bayit Yehudi voters: 7.0, Yesh Atid voters 2.9, Zionist Union voters: 2.6

 

8th 5.13 (4.84) – Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev (Likud) (8% no opinion)

Bayit Yehudi voters: 6.89, Likud voters: 6.84, Yesh Atid voters 3.74, Zionist Union voters: 2.71

 

9th 5.06 (4.74) – Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) (7% no opinion)

Bayit Yehudi voters: 5.8, Likud voters: 5.67, Zionist Union voters: 4.53, Yesh Atid voters 4.33

 

10th 4.59 (3.92) – Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) (14% no opinion)

Bayit Yehudi voters: 5.2, Likud voters: 5.15, Zionist Union voters: 3.7, Yesh Atid voters 3.67

 

*Other ministers were not polled

Poll #1: Statnet (former Dialog) conducted a poll of 615 people with a 3.9% margin of error that was broadcast by Channel 10 on December 29th 2016.

What caused the United States to not use their veto in the UNSC?

38% Hostility towards Israel, 31% American interest, 18% Don’t know, 13% Israeli interest

Were Netanyahu’s punishments of other countries in response to UNSCR helpful to Israel’s foreign policy?

49% Not helpful, 32% Helpful, 19% Don’t know

__________________________________________________

Poll #2: Panels conducted a poll that was broadcast by the Knesset Channel on December 26th 2016.

How would you define the Israeli Government’s response to the UNSC resolution?

38% Went too far, 35% Correct response, 14% Didn’t go far enough, 13% Don’t know

Was the UNSC decision a diplomatic failure of the Israeli Government?

56% Yes, 36% No, 8% Don’t know

Do you think that the Israeli Government was ready or surprised for the UNSC vote?

51% Surprised, 29% Ready, 20% Don’t know

Did the personal relationship between Netanyahu and Obama influence the UNSC decision?

77% Yes, 12% No, 11% Don’t know

______________________________________________________

Poll #3 Midgam conducted a poll that was broadcast by the Knesset Channel on December 29th 2016.

Should Israel provide humanitarian assistance to Syrians who have been harmed by civil war?

59% Yes, 31% No, 10% Don’t know

Should Israel take a side in the Syrian civil war or remain neutral?

87% Remain neutral, 7% Don’t know, 6% Take a side

If you would be asked, would you donate money or time to volunteer in Israel to organizations that are providing humanitarian assistance to Syrians?

49% No, 27% Yes, 24% Don’t know

Should the United States intervene in Syria to put an end to the war there?

75% Yes, 15% No, 10% Don’t know

Can the intervention in Syria drag the world into an all-out world war?

44% No, 40% Yes, 16% Don’t know

Is it justified to stop giving refuge to Muslim immigrants in the US and Europe as a result of terror attacks?

64% Yes, 24% No, 12% Don’t know

There is a comparison being made between the apathy shown by the world in Syria to the Jewish genocide in Europe by Nazis. Is this comparison justified?

36% No because Syria is a civil war, 30% Yes, 24% No because there is no deliberate attempt of genocide in Syria, 10% Don’t know

Will the western world come to the defense of Israel if there would be existential threat?

67% No, 21% Yes, 12% Don’t know

___________________________________________________________

Poll #4: Midgam conducted a poll that was broadcast by the Knesset Channel on December 22nd 2016.

Is it justified to change the existing law so that Ministers can personally appoint the board of directors in government owned companies?

73% No, 14% Yes, 13% Don’t know

Is it justified to change the existing law so that the Prime Minister and Ministers can personally appoint and replace all of the office holders in their ministry when the government is formed?

72% No, 21% Yes, 7% Don’t know

Does changing clerks and office holders when a new government is formed benefit the public?

78% No, 15% Yes, 7% Don’t know

Would it be possible in Israel to conduct an orderly transfer of power if all senior office holders and clerks are replaced each time a new minister is appointed?

53% No, 29% Yes, 18% Don’t know

Should the decision on important matters be conducted through a national referendum or through a vote by the coalition in Knesset?

64% National Referendum, 25% Knesset Coalition

 

Poll #1: Midgam conducted a poll that was broadcast by the Knesset Channel on December 15th 2016.

When it comes to economic and social issues has the Israeli society trended to the right, left or center?

41% Right, 27% Center, 16% Don’t know, 16% Left

What is the trend on economic and social issues in the western world?

39% Right, 23% Left, 22% Center, 16% Don’t know

Should Israel take refugees from African countries in cases where their lives are in danger or should they be arrested?

46% Arrested, 36% Refuge, 18% Don’t know

Are the isolationist inspirations of Trump in the United States and in Europe going to cause the free world to stop absorbing immigrants?

54% Yes, 24% No, 22% Don’t know

Does immigration of Muslims and Africans to Europe contribute to the isolationist policies of preventing free immigration to the free world?

63% Yes, 37% No

Do racist tendencies that have always existed contribute to the isolationist policies of preventing free immigration to the free world?

69% No, 31% Yes

Does the bad economic situation in Europe contribute to the isolationist policies of preventing free immigration to the free world?

70% No, 30% Yes

Does the fall of the Soviet Union and immigration from Eastern Europe contribute to the isolationist policies of preventing free immigration to the free world?

95% No, 5% Yes

Are you worried that the inclination towards isolationism and the right-wing trend in the world will lead to an increase in antisemitism?

61% Yes, 26% No, 13% Don’t know

Could the inclination towards isolationism of President-elect Donald Trump lead him to reduce the aid that has been given to Israel during the last few terms of the previous United States Presidents?

59% No, 23% Yes, 18% Don’t know

Could the inclination towards isolationism of President-elect Donald Trump lead him to harm the economic relations between the United States and China?

43% No, 36% Yes, 21% Don’t know

Could the inclination towards isolationism of President-elect Donald Trump lead him to harm the diplomatic relations between the United States and China?

41% No, 33% Don’t know, 26% Yes

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Poll #2:  Panels conducted a poll that was broadcast by the Knesset Channel on December 12th 2016.

Of the following candidates who is most appropriate to lead the Zionist Union?

All voters: 37% Don’t know, 26% Yachimovich, 16% Ashkenazi, 9% Livni, 7% Herzog, 5% Margalit

Center-Left voters: 27% Yachimovich, 24% Don’t know, 16% Livni, 15% Ashkenazi, 10% Herzog, 8% Margalit

Of the following candidates who is most appropriate to lead the Histadrut Workers Union?

54% Don’t know, 19% Yachimovich, 18% Cabel, 9% Nissenkorn

What is your opinion of the Histadrut?

30% Helps all workers, 26% Gives jobs to friends, 25% Helps strong workers, 19% Don’t know

Are you pleased or not pleased with the conduct of MK Yachimovich?

46% Pleased, 40% Not pleased, 14% Don’t know

What issues should Yachimovich focus on?

71% Social & Economic issues, 16% Don’t know, 13% Diplomatic & Security issues

If elected to lead the Histadrut, would Yachimovich be able to manage struggles against the government and private interests?

55% Yes, 28% No, 17% Don’t know

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Poll #3: Midgam conducted a poll that was broadcast by the Knesset Channel on December 8th 2016.

Should the government compensate only citizens that have been harmed from terror or should the State also compensate all citizens that are harmed by national disasters?

65% Everybody, 24% Something but less than terror, 8% Not at all, 3% Don’t know

Should the ammonia be moved from Haifa to a different location without a population center?

81% Yes right now, 11% Yes but not right now, 4% Don’t know, 2% No

Should we increase significantly the number of firefighters and our firefighting capabilities such as more fire trucks and fire planes?

79% Yes, 13% No, 8% Don’t know

Do you trust the Israeli government to compensate fully whoever was harmed by the latest fire wave?

43% Not at all, 39% Some compensation, 12% Yes in full, 6% Don’t know

Have the lessons from the Carmel fire six years ago been learned?

57% Some, 24% Not at all, 17% Most, 2% Don’t know

Should the State of Israel invest a special effort to prepare for the possibility of future national disasters?

91% Yes, 5% Don’t know, 4% No

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Poll #4: Panels conducted a poll that was broadcast by the Knesset Channel on December 5th 2016.

Do you think the conduct of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit is fair and straight?

38% Yes, 33% Don’t know, 29% No

Do you think Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit deals with cases effectively or does he drag them out?

36% Drag, 33% Don’t know, 31% Treat

Where would you place Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit politically?

46% Right, 33% Don’t know, 14% Center, 7% Left

Is it the right of the government to make a decision against the opinion of the Attorney General?

54% Yes, 24% No, 22% Don’t know

Do you think the Attorney General’s position is too powerful or appropriate?

39% Appropriate, 32% Too Powerful, 29% Don’t know

Do you think that Mandelblit is conducting himself in the wrong way and in favor of Netanyahu?

39% He’s Objective, 31% Don’t know, 30% In favor of Netanyahu

Is it appropriate to call an investigation an examination instead of calling it an investigation?

45% No, 32% Yes, 23% Don’t know

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Poll #5: Midgam conducted a poll that was broadcast by the Knesset Channel on December 1st 2016.

Is the Outpost Bill that is meant to cancel the Supreme Court decision on Amona fit the principle of the separation of power between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government?

44% No, 29% Don’t know, 27% Yes

Does the Supreme Court’s decision to evacuate Amona fit the principle of the separation of power between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government?

40% Yes, 30% Don’t know, 30% No

Is it appropriate after an election for a new government to change decisions that had been made by the judicial branch in the previous term by the previous government?

51% No, 39% Yes, 10% Don’t know

From what you know, does the United Kingdom who is the mother of all democracies in the world, allow or forbid the government or the parliament from intervening in the courts and the judicial branch of government?

44% Forbid, 41% Don’t know, 15% Allow

Should the court system fit itself to the government or should the court system remain independent and make their decisions independently?

70% Independent, 25% Fit itself to government, 5% Don’t know

There are those who say that only due to democratic rules and a strong court system was Menachem Begin able to survive in the opposition for so long and eventually reach the leadership of the country. Do you agree with this opinion?

45% Yes, 29% Don’t know, 26% No

Is it justified that a police investigation on government corruption of senior officials be labeled by the Attorney General as a check instead of an investigation?

61% No, 27% Yes, 12% Don’t know

There are governments like the United States in which the leader of the State is not allowed more than two terms. Should we pass a law like that in Israel?

68% Yes, 24% No, 8% Don’t know

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Poll #6: Panels conducted a poll that was broadcast by the Knesset Channel on November 28th 2016.

Who do you think should lead the efforts to manage the events following the fire wave of last week?

34% Shimon Ben-Ner, 31% Gilad Erdan, 16% Don’t know, 11% Benjamin Netanyahu, 8% Roni Alsheikh

What grade do you give the authorities in dealing with the fires from 1-10?

9.0 Firefighters, 8.0 Police, 7.9 Municipalities, 6.5 Israeli Government

In your opinion what caused the fires?

68% Nationalistic/Terrorism, 19% Negligence, 13% Don’t know

Do you think that the punishment should be made more severe on people who lit the fires to the point of stripping their citizenship and destroying their homes?

62% Yes, 34% No

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Poll #7: Midgam conducted a poll that was broadcast by the Knesset Channel on November 24th 2016.

Should there be a separation between religion and state in Israel?

57% Yes, 35% No, 8% Don’t know

Are you for the Loudspeaker Bill?

69% Yes, 23% No, 8% Don’t know

What should the preferred solution be to resolve the loudspeaker issue? The bill or dialogue with Muslim community leaders and an attempt to reach an understanding.

65% Reach Understanding, 28% Bill, 7% Don’t know

If the loudspeaker bill is passed, should there be another bill against the noise from Jewish traditions?

65% Yes, 27% No, 8% Don’t know

Was Litzman correct in his appeal against the Loudspeaker Bill?

38% No, 35% Yes, 27% Don’t know

Do the Rabbinical Courts and the State deal with those who refuse to grant a divorce through a “get” in the right way?

44% Not doing anything at all, 40% Doing something, but not doing enough, 10% Don’t know, 6% Doing enough

Is the treatment towards Reform Jewry from religious institutions in Israel pushing the US Jewry away from Israel?

52% Yes, 25% Don’t know, 23% No

Later this month the Knesset is expected to approve a biannual state budget that will all but ensure the survival of the current coalition into 2019. The question will shift to what date between January 1st and November 5th the elections for the 21st Knesset will be held in 2019.

The media and opposition are not really covering the state budget. Instead the media and opposition are covering the public broadcasting saga, the Amona Bill, the Loudspeaker Bill, the German submarines, and events such as the latest fires, and the transition from President Obama to President-Elect Trump.

The days of being able to pull a “stinky maneuver” no-confidence motion to topple a government like former President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres attempted on then Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir in 1990 are over. Over time there have been additional changes to the law to make that impossible unless there are 61 MKs that have ahead of time already come to an agreement on a Prime Minister and cabinet. Since then, the easiest way for the Knesset to topple a Prime Minister and replace a government has become the threat of the Knesset not passing the government state budget. As a direct result the state budget became headline news months ahead of time and previous opposition leaders focused their efforts on defeating it.

Last month, with 2,788 days consecutive days in office, Prime Minister Netanyahu passed Ben-Gurion’s record for the longest consecutive term as Prime Minster. As mentioned in previous Weekend Perspective pieces, Netanyahu can pass Ben-Gurion’s overall time as Prime Minister during this current term.  Although Netanyahu’s Likud is tied with Yesh Atid at 24.4 seats in the KnessetJeremy Polling Average, Netanyahu’s current coalition receives 65.7 seats compared to the current opposition that without the non-Zionist Arab parties has just 41.3 seats.

In this biannual state budget Prime Minister Netanyahu and Finance Minister Kahlon are offering Shas and UTJ the most coalition money they have ever had. Shas and UTJ, therefore, have absolutely no reason to rock the boat. Kahlon, who has obviously signed off on his own state budget, is looking for an extra two years so he can push through his reforms and rebound in the polls. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has finally reached his dream ministerial job and the former Foreign Minister is interested in gaining the national defense experience he will need to run for Prime Minister someday. Bayit Yehudi’s Naftali Bennett is still building up his portfolio for an eventual showdown against Liberman and Netanyahu’s Likud successor over the nationalist camp.

The press understands the political reality of Netanyahu’s strength which is why I can understand their decision to ignore for the most part the state budget in favor of the hot topics that will produce ratings and sell papers. After all, the issue of government spending and redistribution of citizens’ tax shekels is not as sexy as discussing German submarines or the Amona situation. Unlike the press, the opposition just seems tired, as if they couldn’t be bothered to even try to read the budget, let alone speak up about it.

Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid, who leads the opposition parties in the polls and is tied with the Likud for the top party in the land, is a one-man-show. The political environment within his party is a more Gush Dan upper-middle-class Ashkenazi and media savvy version of Liberman’s Yisrael Beitenu. The other Yesh Atid MKs jobs are to play a supporting role as a media personality based on the needs and desires of their Chairman. It is easy to build for the future when there is a known system in place and the head of the party can avoid internal elections.

Supposedly, the Zionist Union leads the opposition with 24 seats. Coalition Chairman (Chief Whip) Bitan’s job is made easy by the lack of coordination between the four opposition lists on most issues and bills. Over the last few years most of the Labor Party veterans have given up on politics and taken other jobs outside of the Knesset. 17 of Zionist Union’s 24 MKs are in their first or second terms. Many of the seven veterans are considering outside options or shortcuts to avoid tiring political primaries. Shelly Yachimovich officially announced that she is considering running for the Histadrut Labor Union instead of running against Herzog. Eitan Cabel is considering running for his old position as the Labor Party Secretary General to avoid running in another primary. Some say Amir Peretz would drop his potential bid for the Labor leadership if he is offered another reserved slot. MK Nachman Shai has reportedly considered other outside options. The two former IDF COS Ashkenazi and Gantz have avoided any direct political involvement and are not card-carrying-members. Herzog’s main opposition in the Labor leadership race next year appears to be second-term MK Erel Margalit, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai or perhaps Tzipi Livni. Labor is the only democratic party on the center-left where each member can choose their party leader, MK list, and other party institutions such as their Central Committee and local party branch leadership. Herzog is considered a weak leader, the Zionist Union is down to 11 seats in the KnessetJeremy Polling Average, yet no one strong is showing up to try their luck.

The reality of the 2017-2018 state budget that will most likely pass within the next month is that the current right-religious coalition will remain in power for at least another two years, and based on the polls beyond that as well. The Joint List and Meretz are not even pretending to offer an alternative. The Zionist Union is more interested in the Histradrut Labor Union election than their own Leadership Election next year. Meanwhile, Lapid is playing the long game, and Netanyahu is closing in on Ben-Gurion’s more significant record.