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Poll: Israelis Have Lost Confidence in Defense Minister Barak

The public does not trust leaders to defend the State of Israel without being influenced by politics. A poll also shows no confidence in Barak.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/24/2008, 9:06 AM

Israel News Photo: Flash 90

The public does not trust government leaders to defend the State of Israel without being influenced by politics, according to a new Geocartographia poll. Most respondents also expressed no confidence in Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

The survey, broadcast Tuesday night on Channel One television, reveals that 68 percent of Israelis view politics as a  decisive factor in how to deal with rocket and mortar attacks on Israel. Only 21 percent disagreed.

Defense Minister Barak, who also is chairman of the Labor party, has the confidence of only 24 percent of the respondents, who have not been convinced by his recent statements criticizing "babbling politicians" who "do not know what war is" and that "we know when and how to retaliate." 

Barak is a former IDF Chief of Staff and was Prime Minister for 18 months, during which time he ordered a hasty withdrawal of IDF troops from a southern Lebanon security zone that was designed to deter Hizbullah from attacking northern Israel. 

The poll showed only a slight change in the peoples' choices for the next Knesset. The Likud lost three mandates since a similar poll the previous month, but the nationalist Jewish Home party picked up two seats and now is projected to win six places in the next Knesset. Kadima gained one and Israel Is Our Home (Yisrael Beiteinu) gained two.

On the losing side, Shas and United Torah Judaism (UTJ) each dropped two.

The results leave the potential coalitions with the same strength. A Likud-led government, including Shas, Israel Beiteinu, Jewish Home and United Torah Judaism (UTJ), would have 64-65 mandates, according to the latest Geocartographia survey, three less than in last month's poll.

Kadima, under the leadership of Tzipi Livni, would have 46-47 members, not including 10 Knesset Members projected for four Arab parties. A coalition needs a minimum of an absolute majority of 61 MKs in order to form a government.
 
A Channel Two television poll places Kadima one mandate ahead of the Likud and puts Yisrael Beiteinu in third place with 11 seats.

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