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The more they criticize Bibi, the larger his majority

by Shmuel Rosner

December 13, 2012 | 8:02 am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attending a meeting of his cabinet in Jerusalem, December 2, 212 (Photo: Reuters)

Prime Minister Netanyahu is being criticized all around the world. A barrage of criticism, in fact.


“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel seems determined to escalate a crisis by retaliating against the Palestinians after the United Nations General Assembly voted to elevate Palestine to observer state status”, wrote the New York Times. "Israel will pay for Netanyahu’s policies", argue his many election rivals. Former prime minister Ehud Olmert explained that, “Anyone who thinks he can conduct a security policy by detaching himself from the international arena and it will not affect the Israeli economy, is not giving himself a true report about the reality in which we live. I am not running in this election, so I am not speaking as part of an attempt to convince you to vote for me. We are promoting a policy that is inconsistent with the existential interests of the State of Israel”.

You’d think Israelis might respond to such harsh words by flocking to other parties? Think again. As our updated Israel Poll Trends tracker shows, Netanyahu’s political bloc is in fact getting stronger. Seventy mandates – 69.5 to be accurate – and counting. The more Israelis feel isolated, the more the issue in this election is some version of “us vs. them”; the more it’s about Arabs and Palestinians – the more Israelis turn rightward. Prof. Camil Fuchs, the man behind Rosner’s Domain numbers, sees a decline in the significance of so-called “social issues” in this election cycle, and hence unavoidable rightward trend.

Take a look at the latest Trend tracker, and also take the time to examine our revamped Netanyahu Approval tracker, where you can see the prime minister slowly but gradually climbing in recent months. Our Netanyahu tracker now includes two graphs instead of one. Camil Fuchs’ graph that is based on aggregated data from different polls is updated every once in a while (in Israel, polls that examine Netanyahu’s approval aren’t as frequent as you might expect). But to this graph we now added the monthly tracker by Panels Politics. This graph is published in Hebrew as part as PP’s work for the Knesset television channel, and we got the permission to provide an English version of it – take a look.

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