Most Israelis say new coalition won’t impose national service or reform the electoral system (TIMES OF ISRAEL) By GABE FISHER 05/09/12)
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One day after Benjamin Netanyahu and Shaul Mofaz shocked their
colleagues and the nation by unveiling their agreement on a unity
government, opinion polls published Wednesday showed profound
skepticism about both their motivations and the likelihood of them
passing the radical legislation they promised.
Fifity-one percent of respondents to a poll in Haaretz said that the
new government would not be able to pass a law demanding army or
national service from the ultra-Orthodox; only 34% said they
anticipated a new law to replace the Tal Law on this issue, which was
struck down by the Supreme Court earlier this year as
unconstitutional. Mofaz said Tuesday that a legal requirement for
national service for all was one of the central goals of the new
Similarly, 54% said they did not believe the new government would
reform the electoral system, another of Mofaz’s key pledges, which
Netanyahu also said he supported. Only 26% believed electoral reform
would now be implemented.
A poll in Maariv combined the two issues, asking whether the new
government would legislate on national service and electoral reform.
Nearly half — 46.7% — of respondents did not believe the new
government would be successful in either area, with 37.7% saying it
In Haaretz, 63 percent of respondents said the coalition was created
for narrow political reasons, and only 23% said it was for the sake
of the country’s future. Netanyahu and Mofaz stressed repeatedly at
their joint press conference Tuesday that they had joined forces “in
the national interest.”
In the Maariv poll, Mofaz fared particularly badly in a question
specific to his entry into the coalition, with 70.6% believing he did
it to ensure his political survival and only 16.6% believing it was
for the good of the country.
The public seems split on its attitude to the coalition, with Maariv
finding that 31% are indifferent to it, 30.7% support it and 29.9%
are against it. However, 50.9% believe that the coalition agreement
was politically justified and in the interests of the state, with
34.8% saying the opposite. An Israel Hayom poll found 39.6% of
Israelis supporting the new coalition, with 31.9 oppposing it.
The Maariv poll also showed that a solid majority, 57.4%, believe the
new government will stay in power until the next elections, scheduled
for fall 2013.
In both polls, the percentage of respondents replying “I don’t know”
to various questions was relatively high, ranging between 13 and 20%.
On the plus side, the Maariv poll revealed that a slim majority,
44.9%, versus 39.5%, believes that the unity coalition advances
Israel’s position vis-à-vis the Iranian nuclear threat. (© 2012 THE
TIMES OF ISRAEL 05/09/12)
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