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Most Israelis Think Netanyahu Is Corrupt or Has ‘Knowledge of Corruption’ - Poll

© REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst/File PhotoIsrael's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participates in a forum hosted by the Center for American Progress in Washington November 10, 2015
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participates in a forum hosted by the Center for American Progress in Washington November 10, 2015 - Sputnik International
A new poll published Thursday indicates that nearly half of Israelis believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is corrupt, but still think he is the person best suited to fill his position.

Conducted by Panels Politics for the Hebrew-language newspaper Ma’ariv, the poll found that 48 percent of Israelis surveyed think Netanyahu is corrupt, 38 percent believe he isn’t and the rest were uncertain.

When asked if they "believe or do not believe Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's claim he knows nothing about activities that led to the suspicions of corruption in the submarine and ship issue," Jerusalem Post reports that only 30 percent of people polled believe Netanyahu had no knowledge of misconduct while 55 percent feel he did have knowledge of shady dealings. Fifteen percent say they don’t know.

The November submarine deal Israel struck with German shipbuilding giant ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems has been dogged by allegations of corruption since it was revealed that Israel’s intermediary for ThyssenKrupp, Miki Ganor, had retained Netanyahu’s cousin and personal lawyer David Shimron to represent him in the deal. 

An Israeli naval officer holds the mooring rope of the INS Tanin, a Dolphin AIP class submarine, as it docks at a naval base in the northern city of Haifa, after its arrival in Israel (File) - Sputnik International
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The $2 billion deal is still under investigation, but Netanyahu believes the deal will go through, telling a Tuesday briefing,"Matters will be cleared up and I believe the deal will go ahead.”

At the time, the company said it wasn’t aware that Ganor had consulted for other parties in the transaction.

Results of the poll differ sharply amongst voters of the ruling Likud Party that Netanyahu chairs, with 80 percent saying he is not corrupt and 69 percent confident he also had no knowledge of corruption. 

A worker at a blast furnace at Europe's largest steel factory of Germany's industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp AG in Duisburg, Germany December 6, 2012. - Sputnik International
Netanyahu's Lawyer, Ex-Navy Chief Named as Suspects in German Submarine Probe

Just over a quarter of participating Israelis still chose Netanyahu as the person best suited to serve as prime minister, despite misgivings, giving him 26 percent of the vote. Yesh Atid Party chairman Yair Lapid got 14 percent;  Avi Gabbay, newly elected leader of the Israeli Party, got 12 percent; Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon tied with  Education Minister Naftali Bennett at 8 percent and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman got only 3 percent.

"None of the above" earned 19 percent of the vote.

According to the poll, 23 percent of Israelis do not believe that Israel’s national security will be harmed by selling submarines to Egypt, while 47 percent think there will be repercussions, and 30 percent aren’t sure. 

Only 33 percent of Israelis polled indicated that if Netanyahu resigned they would want a government led by the Likud Party with a different minister at the helm. Fifty-three percent would prefer to go to an election.

Left-wing voters overwhelmingly favored an election at 77 percent, while only 38 percent of right-wingers felt the same.

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