Photo Credit: Chen Leopold/Flash90
A protest against a plea deal with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu near the home of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit in Petah Tikva, January 15, 2022.

According to a Kantar survey published by Kan 11 News Sunday night, most Israelis oppose a plea deal with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and believe Netanyahu is guilty of at least some of the charges against him.

49% of respondents believe that a decision should be reached in court, compared to only 28% who think it is right to reach a plea agreement. 23% have not formed an opinion on the subject.

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Segmenting the respondents according to their political positions reveals that 42% of Likud voters are in favor of a deal. Among those who define themselves as right-wingers, in all the parties, 36% are in favor of a plea bargain. And among those who vote for left-center parties, only 21% support signing a plea deal with the former PM.

When asked about the actual plea agreement that’s being reported by Israeli media, according to which Netanyahu would plead guilty to fraud and breach of trust, perform community service, and be removed from political life for seven years, 52% of respondents oppose such a deal, and only 26% support it. 22% responded say they don’t know.

Only 20% of Likud voters support the emerging deal, and only a quarter of the voters of all the right-wing parties do. In contrast, 30% of center-left voters support the plea deal as reported. In other words, a deal in which Netanyahu has to admit his guilt and be saddled with a disgrace clause brings down the right’s support and increases the left’s.

According to the survey, the majority of Israelis believe that Netanyahu is guilty of at least some of the charges against him. 36% replied that Netanyahu is guilty of all the charges against him, and 19% replied that he was guilty of some of the counts, but not of bribery. 22% of respondents said Netanyahu was not guilty, and 23% have not formed an opinion. Among right-wing voters, 36% believe Netanyahu is not guilty, and 42% said Netanyahu is guilty of at least some of the charges.

BARKAT MAY BE THE NEXT LIKUD LEADER

Most of the respondents with an opinion say that on the day after Netanyahu’s retirement there would be no need to dismantle the current government and form a new government that would include the Likud. 47% of the respondents supported this view, compared with 38% who said Likud should be part of a new government as soon as Netanyahu goes away. 15% don’t know.

Among Netanyahu’s voters, 65% would like to see a new government with the Likud in it after Netanyahu resigns. 57% of right-wing voters think that if Netanyahu leaves, a new government should be formed with the Likud. On the center-left, two-thirds of respondents want the government to continue in its current format regardless of Netanyahu’s situation, and only 22% would prefer to dismantle it.

Who will head the Likud the day after Netanyahu? 20% of the general public and 29% of Likud voters favor former Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Far behind him is Yuli Edelstein with 9% support of the general public and only 4% among Likud voters. Israel Katz gets 8% of the general public and 10% of Likud voters. Former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen—Netanyahu’s candidate—gets 6% of the general public’s support and 12% support from Likud voters. Miri Regev receives 5% of the public at large and 6% of Likudniks. 13% of Likud voters said they preferred other candidates, and 26% don’t know.

The survey was conducted on Sunday, January 16, 2022, in an online sample of 553 women and men aged 18 and over, including the Arab sector. The number of people asked to answer the survey was 3,321. Sampling error +- 4.4%.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.