Netanyahu Back as PM?

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has decided, after months of under the cloud of scandal, to step down after his Kadima party choses a new leader in September. The hope is to form a new government under the new leader and revive the party until next spring’s elections. Otherwise, Olmert could stay on until then.

Likud party leader and former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is leading all candidates by a wide margin in a new Haaretz poll.

When those polled were asked to pick between Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak for future prime minister, 36 percent said they preferred Netanyahu, as opposed to 24.6 percent who chose Livni. Barak was chosen by 11.9 percent of respondents, significantly less than the fourth choice “none of the above,” which garnered 19 percent.

Netanyahu scored higher when Livni’s name was replaced by Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz in the survey, with 36.6 percent of respondents picking him, over 14.8 percent for Barak, 12 percent for Mofaz, and 27.4 percent for “none of the above.”

Netanyahu looked like a pretty fair bet to win last time, too, until Ariel Sharon reshuffled the deck. That’s not going to happen again, though.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Anthony says:

    If Netanyahu gets in, what do we think the policy implications will be? Is he likely to pull the plug on the talks with Syria?

  2. Triumph says:

    I love this man.

  3. Michael says:

    He’s already calling for early elections. That’s a pretty good strategy really, demand early elections when you’re up in the polls, no sense in waiting until your numbers go south.

  4. Derrick says:

    And we moan and groan about our choices. Israel has been recycling the same couple of guys for 2 decades now. Netanyahu seems like a decent guy (my fiancee’s father knows him pretty well), but way too much of a hard liner. A fresh approach at this point would probably be a benefit.

    Did I just hear a call for change? Si Se Puede!

  5. Triumph says:

    כן אנחנו יכולים

  6. Dutch says:

    I wonder if he would reoccupy Gaza if he got back in?