Press Release

Plurality of Israelis Welcome Yisrael Beiteinu into Coalition, Signaling 'Desire for Right-Wing Dominance'

Public less satisfied with appointment of Lieberman as defense minister

A plurality of the Jewish public views the addition of Yisrael Beiteinu into the government coalition over Zionist Union as a step in a positive direction, according to the latest Peace Index, released this week by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University.

A plurality of the Jewish public views the addition of Yisrael Beiteinu into the government coalition over Zionist Union as a step in a positive direction, according to the latest Peace Index, released this week by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University.

Some 39 percent of the Jewish public expressed support for the addition of Yisrael Beiteinu, as opposed to 27% that would have preferred that Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog's Zionist Union party had joined the coalition.

Of Likud voters, 71% preferred Yisrael Beiteinu, while only nine percent would have preferred Zionist Union.

"Netanyahu reflected the will of his voters," said Tamar Hermann in a statement about the poll. "The preference for Yisrael Beiteinu over the Zionist Union apparently stems from the desire of the Jewish public, the majority of which (56%) defines itself as right-wing, to even further enhance the right-wing's dominance."

When Arabs were asked whether they would have preferred Yisrael Beiteinu or Zionist Union, 33% said, "both of them to the same extent."

The poll, which was taken between May 31 and June 1, 2016, also focused on how the appointment of Yisrael Beiteinu party chairman Avigdor Lieberman as Defense Minister would impact Israel's diplomacy and security and on the legal authorities' behavior on the issue of the Netanyahu family's household affairs.

Avigdor Lieberman
While the Jewish public seems to have welcomed Yisrael Beiteinu joining the coalition, the public is much less satisfied with the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as defense minister in lieu of former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon. Only 24% of the Jewish public feel Lieberman is better suited for the job.

On whether or not Lieberman's appointment will impact the chances to renew the peace process with the Palestinians, just more than one-third (39%) of the Jewish public do not think Lieberman's appointment will have an effect one way or another. Just over one-third (34%) believe it will reduce the chances of moving the peace process forward. Some 16% believe it will increase prospects of renewing peace talks. (45% of the Jewish public expects Israel’s policy on the Palestinian issue to get tougher).

Similarly, close to half of the Jewish public (44%) believe Lieberman's appointment will not impact the number of terror attacks perpetrated by Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. Some 22% believe the number of attacks will decline, while 14% believe the number will increase.

Further, 48% of the Jewish public think Lieberman's appointment as defense minister will not cause a change in relations with the United States. Twenty-four percent think relations will worsen, while 12% anticipate the opposite.

The handling of Netanyahu's household affairs
Jewish Israelis are divided in their trust of the authorities to make a thorough and professional inquiry into the Netanyahu family’s conduct of its household affairs; 50% do not trust the authorities while 43% do.

Correspondingly, a considerable majority (54%) agrees with the claim that the ongoing occupation with this issue stems from inappropriate behavior by the Netanyahu family, while only a minority (34%) agrees with the claim that the concern with the issue stems from the desire to oust the Netanyahu government. Among the Arab respondents, a majority (53.5%) say they trust the legal authorities to act professionally on this issue.

The Peace Index is a project of the Evens Program for Mediation and Conflict Resolution at Tel Aviv University and the Guttman Center for Surveys of the Israel Democracy Institute. The survey included 600 respondents, who constitute a representative national sample of the entire adult population aged 18 and over. The maximum measurement error for the whole sample is ±4.1% at a confidence level of 95%.
Full survey: www.peaceindex.org/english.