A week after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expanded his coalition, bringing Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party into the government, Israelis are satisfied with the addition, and prefer the inclusion of the nationalist party over the left-wing Zionist Union party led by Yitzhak Herzog.
According to a survey conducted by Tel Aviv University and published by the Israel Democracy Institute’s Guttman Center, 39.2% of Israeli Jews favored the inclusion of Yisrael Beytenu in the government over the Zionist Union, compared to 27.5% who would have preferred to see Herzog’s party enter the coalition.
Only 11.6% wished to see both in the coalition, while 12.5% didn’t believe it was suitable for either party to join the government.
While Israeli Jews tended to look favorably on Yisrael Beytenu’s entry into the coalition, few approved of Liberman’s replacement of Moshe Ya'alon as Defense Minister.
More than half (54.2%) responded that Ya'alon was more suited to run the Defense Ministry than Liberman, compared to just 23.8% who said Liberman was more suited. Only 7.8% said both were equally suited, while 5.9% believed neither were.
In terms of policy, Israeli Jews believed Liberman would make Israeli policy vis-à-vis the Palestinian Authority more hawkish – though few believed it will have an impact on the number of terror attacks.
Only 6% believed Israel would become more conciliatory with Liberman in the government, compared to 44.6% who believed Israeli policy would become tougher and 36.1% who believed Israeli policy would not change substantially.
Among Israeli Jews, 44.4% said Liberman’s appointment would have no effect on the number of terror attacks, compared to 22% who said it would reduce the number of attacks, and 14.1% who said it would lead to more attacks. Israeli Arabs, however, believed Liberman’s appointment would result in more terror attacks, with 41.6% responding the number of attacks would rise, compared to 31.3% who said they would remain unchanged, and 18.5% who said they would decrease.