52% of Israelis want PM to leave if indicted? for graft

JERUSALEM (AFP): Half of the Israeli public believes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should resign if the attorney-general recommends that he be indicted for graft, according to results of a new survey released Monday.

“Fifty-two percent of the Israeli public (49.5 percent of Jews and 66 percent of Arabs) believe Netanyahu should resign if the attorney-general calls for his indictment,” the poll, conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute, revealed.

Some 35.5 percent of the public, however, believes Netanyahu could continue serving as prime minister notwithstanding such a recommendation.

Notably, only 10 percent of supporters of the Likud (Netanyahu’s party), 8 percent of Jewish Home Party supporters, and 22 percent of Shas Party supporters believe he should step down if indictments are recommended, the same survey found.

This compares to 89 percent of Labor Party supporters; 87 percent of Arab Joint List supporters; 86.5 percent of Israel Resilience Party supporters; 83 percent of Yesh Atid supporters; and 78 percent of Kulanu Party supporters.

Last Friday, Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit said that he would decide whether or not to indict Netanyahu on multiple graft charges before Knesset elections slated for April 9.

Netanyahu is currently under investigation in three separate corruption cases, in which he has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

The first case involves Israeli Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, who was allegedly asked to purchase luxury items for Netanyahu and his wife.

The second relates to an alleged deal for favorable media coverage with Arnon Mozes, publisher of prominent Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

In a third case, Netanyahu is accused of awarding favors to Israel’s Bezeq Telecom Company in return for favorable coverage on the company’s website.