Former PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Former PM Benjamin NetanyahuSpokesperson

A new poll published by Kan News on Sunday reveals that a majority of Israeli citizens are opposed to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaching a plea bargain as the conclusion to his trial on corruption charges.

48 percent of those polled stated that the court should give the final verdict, as opposed to 28 percent who said that a plea bargain was the preferred outcome. 23 percent of respondents had no opinion either way. 42 percent of Likud voters expressed themselves in favor of a plea bargain, as did 36 percent of those who described themselves as right-wing voters. Among those who defined themselves as center-left-wing voters, just 21 percent were in favor of a plea bargain.

Any plea bargain would likely see the former premier admit to fraud and breach of trust, be sentenced to a period of community service, and withdraw from political life for seven years. 52 percent of those polled were against any such deal; just 26 percent were in favor. 22 percent replied that they were uncertain.

Just 20 percent of Likud voters supported such a deal as did 25 percent of right-wing voters from all parties. 30 percent of center-left-wing voters said that they supported it.

Most of those polled answered positively when asked whether they thought Netanyahu was guilty of at least some of the offenses of which he is accused. 36 percent of respondents said they thought he was guilty on all charges; 19 percent said he was guilty of some of the charges but not of bribery. 22 percent of respondents said that Netanyahu was entirely innocent, and 23 percent replied that they did not know or had no opinion either way. Among right-wing voters, 36 percent said they believed the former premier to be innocent, and 42 percent said that he was guilty of at least some of the offenses with which he has been charged.

Most of those polled said that even once Netanyahu leaves the Knesset, there is no need to dismantle the coalition and establish a new government that will include the Likud party. 47 percent of those polled expressed that view, as opposed to 38 percent who said that the government should be reconstituted and 15 percent who did not express an opinion.

Of those who previously voted for Netanyahu, 65 percent of respondents said that they would like to see the Likud party in power, but only if Netanyahu first leaves political life. 57 percent of right-wing voters said that a new government should be formed to include the Likud party once Netanyahu goes. Among center-left-wing voters, the opposite was true: Two-thirds of those polled said that the government should continue to exist in its current form regardless of what happens with Netanyahu; just 22 percent said they preferred to see it reconstituted once Netanyahu leaves.

As for the burning question – who will head the Likud party after the Netanyahu era ends – 20 percent of those polled and 29 percent of Likud voters said Nir Barkat was their preferred candidate. Yuli Edelstein was a long way behind with just 9 percent of those polled and 4 percent of Likud voters supporting him. Yisrael Katz was the preferred candidate of 8 percent of those polled and 10 percent of Likud voters; former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen had the support of 6 percent of those polled and 12 percent of Likud voters. Last and least was Miri Regev with the support of 5 percent of those polled and 6 percent of Likud voters.

13 percent of Likud voters polled said that they would prefer someone else entirely, and 26 percent were undecided.

A different poll conducted by Prof. Camil Fuchs for Channel 13 News found that 29 percent of respondents supported a plea bargain and 46 percent were opposed. 25 percent said they had no opinion either way.

In that poll, 32 percent of Likud voters were in favor of a plea bargain with 41 percent opposed. 27 percent said they were unsure. Among those who described themselves as opposition voters, 36 percent said they supported a plea bargain; 35 percent were opposed; and 29 percent were undecided. Among those who described themselves as people who voted for the coalition, 25 percent were in favor of a plea bargain as opposed to 54 percent who said they were against the idea.

When asked to comment on the charge of moral turpitude, 49 percent of those polled said they were in favor of Netanyahu being forced to admit to it, and 40 percent said they were opposed to that outcome.

30 percent of those polled said that they thought Netanyahu genuinely desired to reach a plea bargain; 40 percent said that he was just sending up a trial balloon. 30 percent of respondents were unsure. Among Likud voters, 43 percent of those polled said they believed Netanyahu was serious about wanting to conclude a plea bargain; just 22 percent thought he was only testing the waters.

With regard to the possible consequences for the current government, 34 percent of those polled said that they preferred to see the current government continue in power in its present form, as opposed to 18 percent who wanted to see a new government formed that would include the Likud party without Netanyahu at its helm. 38 percent of respondents said they would want to go to elections if Netanyahu left the political scene. Among Likud voters, 66 percent of those polled said they would prefer to hold new elections; just 17 percent wanted the government to be reconstituted with the Likud inside without Netanyahu.

28 percent of those polled said that they thought Nir Barkat should “inherit” Netanyahu’s position at the helm of the Likud party. Yuli Edelstein was supported by just 8 percent, followed by Yisrael Katz with 7 percent, Amir Ohana with 4 percent, and Miri Regev with 3 percent. 25 percent of respondents thought that “none of the above” should be the next Likud leader and another 25 percent said they had no idea.