Voters Unmoved by Sara Netanyahu Scandal

New survey finds Israelis want corruption-free leaders, but unlikely to change their votes because of the Sara Netanyahu scandal.

Cynthia Blank ,

Binyamin and Sarah Netanyahu
Binyamin and Sarah Netanyahu
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israeli voters want politicians free of corruption, but scandals surrounding Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's wife Sara Netanyahu are not such a hot topic after all, a new survey finds. 

The survey, conducted under the supervision of Professor Kamil Fuchs, shows that a large majority - 82 percent - are unlikely to change their vote despite reports of misconduct in the Prime Minister's Residence. 

Haaretz article published a week and a half ago alleged that Sara Netanyahu had exchanged empty bottles, purchased with public funds for the use of the Prime Minister's Residence, for cash amounting to over 4,000 shekels. 

The Prime Minister's Residence was also charged with spending some NIS 88,964 on alcohol in 2009-2010. 

Adding fuel to the case was journalist Raviv Drucker, who leaked the audit draft of the State Comptroller's investigation into a previous Netanyahu scandal, in which wealthy associates were believed to have been funding the Prime Minister's foreign flights.

State Comptroller Yosef Shapira then announced that the expenditure report of the Prime Minister's Residence would be published in coming weeks, and would include mention of any criminal misconduct. 

In Netanyahu's favor, 43 percent of respondents say that the reports published against the Prime Minister are a result of personal considerations and biased media, with 40 percent answering the opposite. 

In general though, the public prefers a leader who is free from corruption allegations. 

68 percent of respondent said it was "very important" that the leader they choose is free of such charges, while 27% answered it was "pretty important" to them. 

The public also maintains that Israel's socio-economic status is the most important issue in elections for the 20th Knesset. 52% of respondents say this is their main focus for elections, while 29% says it is security. 

Election surveys also seem to reflect the fact that "Bottle-gate" has not had such a substantial effect on Netanyahu. The latest poll, conducted by TNS for Channel One, shows his Likud party at 27 seats, easily surpassing rival Labor-Hatnua at 23.