Olmert under pressure in Israel
Following perceived mismanagement of the war, Israelis believe top government and defense officials Olmert, Peretz and Halutz should be replaced. Voting tendencies are shifting from left to center.
Recent polls reveal that the public deems Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert unfit to continue serving his post.
According to a poll published Friday in the Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Ahronot, 71 percent of the public believes Olmert is no longer competent to lead the country.
Sixty-three percent of Israelis believe that Olmert failed in managing the war in Lebanon, and should consequently resign.
Defense Minister Amir Peretz fared even worse than Olmert, with 74 percent saying he did not manage the war properly. Only 20 percent surveyed believed Peretz should remain in his post, and merely three percent believe Peretz, previously Israel’s top Labor Union chief, is suitable for the defense portfolio to begin with.
IDF Chief of Staff General Dan Halutz was also faulted by the public. Just over 54 percent of those surveyed believe Halutz should resign for Israel’s failure to defeat Hizbullah’s terrorist army.
Support for the current leftist government coalition is weak as well, with only 19 percent saying the current coalition should remain in power. Only 27 percent, however, favor early elections.
Israel may be more polled than any place on earth. It must be that democracy thing. I think Netanyahu has a good chance of returning to power if a new election is called anytime soon. That will depend on how fragile Olmert's coalition is.
Israelis have shifted rightward after the war in Lebanon and right-wing parties would dramatically increase their power at the expense of Kadima and Labor if elections were held now, according to public opinion polls taken this week.
A Ma'agar Mohot poll, broadcast on Channel 2 on Thursday evening found that if the election was held today, the Likud and Israel Beiteinu would each win 24 seats, Kadima would fall from 29 to 14, and Labor would fall from 19 to only 9.
According to a different Ma'agar Mohot poll taken few days ago for the newspaper Israeli, Labor would become the sixth largest party after the next election. Kadima would win 23 seats, Likud 20, Israel Beiteinu 15, Shas 13, the National Union-National Religious Party 12 and Labor only 12.
A Smith Research poll broadcast on Channel 2 found that over 50 percent of Israelis were undecided. The poll predicted 16 seats for Israel Beiteinu, 14 for Likud, 11 for Kadima and just 10 for Labor. The Smith poll found that the Likud could win 20 seats if its candidate for prime minister was former IDF chief of General Staff Moshe Ya'alon, who returned to Israel from a fellowship in Washington on Thursday, and not Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu.
In a Shvakim Panorama poll broadcast on Israel Radio on Thursday, 29% of Israelis polled said their preferred defense minister would be Ya'alon, 17% preferred former defense minister Shaul Mofaz of Kadima, 10% said former prime minister Ehud Barak and less than 5% said current defense minister Amir Peretz.
A Teleseker poll published in Ma'ariv last week showed the Likud rising from 12 seats to 20, adding to the trend predicting a rightward shift among Israelis.