A new survey has revealed that a majority of right-wing voters will continue to support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even if he is formally indicted on corruption charges.
The study, undertaken by the Rafi Smith Institute for the Israel Democracy Institute, also found that a staggering two-thirds of respondents insisted that Netanyahu’s legal troubles were a result of politically-motivated persecution by law enforcement.
According to the Jerusalem Post, some 53% of right-wing voters said they would support Netanyahu remaining in office even if he is officially indicted following a pre-indictment hearing with the attorney-general. Just 18% of the 1,063 respondents said that the Prime Minister should resign if he is formally charged.
Voters also expressed a desire for the powers of the justice system to be curtailed in exchange for more power being placed in the hands of the governing apparatus. Indeed, some 74% of right-wing voters declared that a law, allowing the Knesset to override High Court of Justice decisions that strike down legislation, should be passed.
Respondents appear to be mirroring Netanyahu’s assertion that the three corruption cases brought against him are nothing more than political smear. In February, the Prime Minister said that the cases were an attempt “to topple the right-wing and raise the left to the premiership.”
“There is no other explanation,” he said, according to the Guardian.
Prior to April’s election, Netanyahu’s party, Likud, called the prosecution attempt “political persecution.”
“Unilateral publication of the attorney general’s announcement just a month before the elections, without giving the prime minister an opportunity to refute these false accusations, is a blatant and unprecedented intervention in the elections,” the party added in its statement.
Netanyahu is accused of engaging in bribery and colluding with the press in order to gain favorable coverage. The Prime Minister’s formal indictment hearing will take place in October, just a few weeks after the Israeli snap election, which is due to be held on September 17 after Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition back in April.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Lori Mizrahi/Stringer