Israeli Ministers Face Low Ratings As Public Dissatisfaction With Their Policies Continues to Mount
A recent poll indicates that the parties of the current coalition have failed to boost their popularity. The ratings of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, are only getting stronger, with a survey predicting he would get 34 out of 120 seats in the Israeli chamber.
Media polls are not in favour of Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Although the number of coronavirus patients continues to fall, his party's ratings remain low; a recent survey suggests that he would only get 7 out of 120 seats in the parliament, if elections were held today.
Other parties that make up the current coalition have also registered a stagnation in ratings. The Yesh Atid party, the biggest faction of the government, still holds 18 seats, just as it did in the fourth round of Israel's general elections, held in March.
The same is true of a number of other parties, including the Blue and White, Labour, Yisrael Beitenu and Meretz, which haven't been able to lift themselves. The reason for this is the Israeli public's dissatisfaction with their current ministers and the policies they have been introducing.
Avigdor Liberman, the chief of Yisrael Beitenu and the man who now controls the Ministry of Finance, has shown very poor ratings, with only 35 percent of a recent poll's respondents evaluating his performance as good. 50 percent gave him a "bad" mark.
The reason behind those poor ratings is Liberman's policies, which are seen as being aimed at harming the Ultra-Orthodox community.
It started with comments against the Haredi parliamentarians and the constituents they represent. Then it was the decision to double the tax on plasticware -- which is usually used by the Haredi and Arab sectors -- under the pretext that such a move would reduce the usage of disposable utensils.
And finally it was the move to cut off the subsidies of kindergartens for unemployed Haredi parents, in a bid to compel them to gain employment.
But Liberman was far from the only minister that was put under fire. The chief of the Interior Ministry Ayelet Shaked has also received poor ratings, with 44 percent of respondents giving her a "bad" mark, partially because of their frustration with her entering a liberal coalition and partially due to her inability to promote any significant legislation.
The Minister of Transportation, Merav Michaeli, has also been slammed: 43 percent of respondents evaluate her performance as poor. Although she has only been in office for less than half a year, many Israelis feel that traffic jams continue to be a headache, whereas major projects like the construction of roads and light rail are still stuck.
The situation doesn't look positive for Foreign Minister Yair Lapid either. His ratings are still high but the mere fact that his policies have been slammed by 42 percent of respondents is an indication that the public might soon turn against him.
Since he took office in mid-June, Lapid has managed to anger much of the Israeli public. Domestically, he provoked condemnation after he neglected to attend the coronavirus cabinet meetings, amid a fourth wave that has been taking a toll on the country's public.
Internationally, he raised eyebrows in China after taking a pro-American stance and slamming Beijing for the way it treated its minorities, and then in the United Arab Emirates after failing to meet with the country's business people during his first official trip to the Gulf nation.
However, Israel's current political system has also got a couple of winners, who seem to be enjoying high approval ratings.
The first one is Israel's Defence Minister Benny Gantz, whose name has been associated with a relative quiet on the Israel-Gaza border and with the easing of restrictions on Gazans including the expansion of nautical miles and letting Palestinian workers into the Israeli territories.
In a recent poll, Gantz has received the support of nearly 60 percent of respondents. Only 28 percent said they disapproved of his policies.
Another great winner of the current political situation is former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is only getting more popular, with the aforementioned poll predicting his party Likud would get 34 seats at the Israeli chamber, if elections occurred today.
General elections are not on the horizon in Israel at the moment, but if a chance is given, Netanyahu might once again find himself in a position of power.