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'Mr. Security' Netanyahu discovers: security last thing on Israelis’ minds

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now discovering that with the raging pandemic and economic crisis, security is the last thing on Israelis’ minds.

Shortly before the April 2019 Knesset election, the Israel Democracy Institute published the results of an extensive poll that asked what issue was most important to Israelis as they headed out to vote. Based on its findings, most Israelis were focused on social or economic matters. Some 45% of respondents responded that these were the most important issues for them, ranking significantly higher than foreign affairs and security (28%), religion and state (11%) or bolstering and defending democracy (9%).

The actual election showed a different result. People may have been thinking about the economy or democracy, but their votes still focused on security affairs. Most Israelis cast their ballots for the Likud headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who prides himself on his brand as “Mr. Security,” or for the former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party. In fact, three out of the four men at the top of the Blue and White list were former chiefs of staff: Gantz, Gabi Ashkenazi and Moshe Ya’alon.

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