Poll: Most Israelis Dissatisfied with Government’s Handling of Pandemic

TEL AVIV - A majority of Israelis believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will beat his main political rival Benny Gantz in April's elections and serve another term, tie David Ben-Gurion and become the longest-serving prime minister in Israel's history, a new poll aired Monday showed.

TEL AVIV — An overwhelming majority of Israelis think the unity government forged between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz has not performed well in handling the twin crises–economic and health-related–facing the country as a result of the pandemic, new polls show.

Sixty-one percent of Israelis are unhappy with the government’s overall performance dealing with the coronavirus crisis, while 75 percent expressed disapproval at how the resulting economic crisis was being handled, a Camil Fuchs poll published by Channel 13 on Sunday evening said. Another 16 percent said the government had handled it well

Only 15 percent said they were satisfied with Netanyahu.

The poll marked a stark contrast with one taken during the peak of the pandemic in April, when 70 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Netanyahu’s handling of the crisis.

A separate poll released by the Kan public broadcaster showed around 85 percent of Israelis did not approve of the government’s handling of the pandemic’s economic fallout.

According to the Channel 13 poll, Netanyahu’s Likud party would drop to 33 seats (some 7 or 8 less than the 40-41 reflected in last month’s poll) if new elections were held today. Gantz’s Blue and White party, which won 15 seats in the March election, would drop to nine.

Yamina, the right wing party in the opposition, would more than double, increasing its six seats to 13.

The polls come as Netanyahu’s popularity continues to plummet amid a massive spike in infections.

On Saturday night, 80,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square to protest the government’s economic response to the pandemic.

Unemployment in Israel soared to 27.5 percent after the pandemic hit the country in mid-March and has decreased only slightly to 23 percent since then. In February, before the coronavirus outbreak, Israel’s unemployment rate stood at just 3.9 percent.

On Sunday, police and Jerusalem municipal workers clashed with protesters who had set up an encampment outside Netanyahu’s official residence.




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