Binyamin Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett
Binyamin Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90

A poll conducted this week by the Panels Politics Research Institute for the Hebrew-language Maariv newspaper focused mainly on the "submarine affair" which has been the main topic of Israel's msm all week.

The "submarine affair," also known as Case 3000, began in November after allegations that David Shimron, a friend and personal attorney to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu convinced Netanyahu to purchase the submarines from ThyssenKrupp rather than through an international tender.

Among other things, participants were asked "if they believe or do not believe Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's claim he knows nothing about activities that led to the suspicions of corruption in the submarine and ship issue." In response, 55% said they do not believe Netanyahu's denials, compared to only 30% who believe he was not connected to the affair.

The police have said repeatedly that the prime minister is not a suspect, but the media continue to write about the issue as if the opposite is true, while anti-Netanyahu protests outside the attorney general's home on Saturday nights last week included a sign saying "guilty until proven innocent" - the opposite of Israeli law which grants presumption of innocence.

The poll also showed that if Netanyahu had to leave his post, most Israelis (53%) would want to hold new elections, and 33% would want Likud to choose another minister to lead the government. In addition, 48% of the public believes Netanyahu is corrupt, compared to 38% who believe he is not corrupt.

Nevertheless, Netanyahu himself continues to be the preferred candidate for Prime Minister, with 26% support. Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) comes next, with 14% support, and Labor's newly-elected Avi Gabbay has 12% support.

If elections were held today, the Likud would receive 24 seats, Yesh Atid would receive 22, and Gabbay's Zionist Union would receive 19 seats. Of the smaller parties, the Jewish Home's current 8 seats would jump to 13, with the Arab Joint List dropping to 11 seats and Kulanu receiving 9. The haredi UTJ party would receive 7 seats, and Yisrael Beytenu, the haredi Shas, and left-wing Meretz would each receive five seats.

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