After he resigns, support for Liberman surges

Survey shows Yisrael Beytenu's support within its base rising after Liberman's resignation, while Netanyahu's popularity drops sharply.

Tzvi Lev,

Flash 90

Outgoing Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman's gamble appears to be paying off.

On Wednesday, Liberman suddenly resigned as defense minister. In a dramatic press conference, Liberman said that a recent cease-fire with Hamas was "a capitulation to terror" and called for new elections "as soon as possible".

A full day after Liberman said he would leave the Defense Ministry, a new survey in the Russia-language newspaper Newsru found that Yisrael Beytenu's support is rising among the faction's Russian-speaking base.

According to the survey, 81% said that they agreed with Liberman that the cease-fire was a "capitulation to terrorism" and 55% said that they supported Liberman's decision to leave the coalition.

Meanwhile, 30% of the 5,472 respondents said that they want Liberman to be Israel's next prime minister, with Netanyahu trailing at only 15%. A Newsru poll last month, however, found Netanyahu the leading choice to be prime minister with 37% of the vote with Liberman far behind at 13%.

While last month's survey found the Likud remaining the most popular faction among Russian-speakers, with 27% support, Yisrael Beytenu has now surpassed the ruling Likud party with 45.5%.

The poll is good news for Liberman, as it shows that his Yisrael Beytenu faction's popularity is growing among its Russian-speaking base.