Most Israelis back government in wake of boat raid: poll
Fri, Jun 11, 2010

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - Most Israelis back their rightwing government in the wake of the botched May 31 assault on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that sparked international outrage, a poll said Friday.

The survey found that 57 percent of Israelis trust their political and military leaders "more or just as before," while 37 percent "trust (them) less or didn't trust them before."

Israel has faced a wave of international criticism of the raid, in which nine Turkish activists were shot dead by naval commandos who were attacked with clubs and knives aboard one of the ships when they boarded them in international waters.

When asked if they were concerned that their country was becoming isolated internationally, 52 percent of respondents answered no and 41 percent said yes.

The poll also found that most Israelis support the blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, with 59 percent saying it is "more beneficial than harmful" and just 25 percent saying the opposite.

The survey, carried out by the Dialog group for the centre-left Haaretz newspaper, also found that Israelis would vote for an even more right-leaning government if elections were held today.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hawkish Likud would pick up six seats to win 33 in the 120-member parliament.

That compared to 27 for the centrist Kadima, which won the most seats in 2009 elections (28) but was unable to form a government.

The ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu would come in third with 13 seats (down from 15 in the current parliament), followed by the ultra-Orthodox Shas with 10 (down from 11) and the centre-left Labour with eight (down from 15).

The poll surveyed 500 respondents "who constitute a representative sample of the population" and had a margin of error of 4.3 percentage point.

Where responses do not total 100 percent respondents declined to answer or had no opinion. --AFP

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