Israeli Public Sours on Bibi After Gaza

Netanyahu Faces Volatile Electorate as Vote Looms in January

getty images

By Nathan Jeffay

Published November 30, 2012, issue of December 07, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

When Israel assassinated Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari on November 14, its citizens were in awe of the achievement. It was widely suggested that impact of the killing was the equivalent of Barack Obama’s Osama bin Laden assassination for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and that it would aid his smooth return to office.

But the end of Operation Pillar of Defense, a week later, brought a different mood. Some 70% of Israelis opposed the cease-fire, according to a Channel 2 poll conducted shortly before it went into effect.

Such strength of feeling often fades once citizens start enjoying the calm of a cease-fire. But even the next day, when residents of southern Israel were free from rocket fire, some 49% of respondents in another poll, this one for Ma’ariv and Makor Rishon, thought Israel should have continued its campaign. Only 31% thought it should have accepted the cease-fire.

This hard line with regard to security issues was also reflected in primaries for the Likud, which took place November 25 and 26. Veteran moderate lawmakers like Michael Eitan and Dan Meridor lost their places, while firebrand Danny Danon won fifth, and far-rightist Moshe Feiglin, who has never yet made it to Knesset, won 14th.

For Netanyahu, this demand on the part of the public for firm results and a political hard line might create difficulties, since by his own admission the cease-fire was based on a “possibility.”

“I realize that there are citizens who expect a harsher military action, and we may very well need to do that,” Netanyahu said when he announced the halt in combat. “But at present, the right thing for the State of Israel is to exhaust this possibility of reaching a long-term cease-fire.“

Itai Olenik, the pollster who conducted the survey just before the cease-fire took effect, said that public attitudes were influenced by the fact that “there was a lot of preparation of public opinion [by politicians] that we’re going to achieve some sort of definitive win. And what happened is that they shot a lot of missiles, we shot a lot at them, and it seems that we gave in, as we didn’t use all the tools we have.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.