Israelis unhappy with Olmert


Sixty-three percent of Israelis want Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to resign in a sharp public rebuke over his handling of the war in Lebanon against Hizbollah, a newspaper poll showed on Friday.


The Yedioth Aronoth poll showed for the first time a majority favored Olmert stepping down. Several surveys suggested a big jump in support for the right-wing Likud party and its leader Benjamin Netanyahu after the 34-day war.

A poll in the Maariv newspaper showed that only 14 percent of Israelis would vote for Olmert if new elections were held, while 26 percent would back Netanyahu, a former prime minister. The Yedioth poll said 45 percent would support Netanyahu.

Olmert, a career politician who lacks the combat credentials of many of his predecessors, has seen his public standing plummet for failing to crush Hizbollah, which rained some 4,000 rockets on northern Israel during the fighting.

"Olmert go home," read one sign at a protest by a few hundred army reservists and family members at the grave of former Prime Minister Golda Meir on Friday.


Netanyahu would probably be a better leader. He has been a Churchill like figure in recent wilderness years after Clinton consipred toreplace him with Barak. Olmert's dithering leadership during the war has not endeared him to the voters. It will be interesting to see how long he can hold his coalition together as he loses his political capital.


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