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Israel’s Netanyahu sinks in polls as Gantz, Bennett jockey to replace him

Public opinion indicates the life expectancy of Israel’s current government could shorten, with former Defense Minister Benny Gantz and former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett vying to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Workers hang a Blue and White Party billboard showing its leader Benny Gantz and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

JERUSALEM — Israelis expressed pessimism this week as they celebrated their country’s 75th independence day, fearing that the societal rift plaguing Israel will only keep growing.

A survey conducted by Maariv ahead of the holiday showed that 52% of the Israelis think their ministers are not performing as they should. Another 50% of those surveyed gave low marks to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently challenged from both inside and outside his coalition. 

Netanyahu's rivals are clearly gaining momentum. Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett returned from the United States last week after a weeklong visit. During the trip, he gave interviews to some of the major TV news outlets, including CNN and Fox News. He also met with some of the most influential members of the Senate and House of Representatives. 

During his US visit, Bennett was careful to toe the official line and avoided attacking Netanyahu. Upon leaving Israel on April 13, Bennett tweeted that “the situation in Israel is not good. Israel’s security is in a very sensitive spot. It needs international backing and the support of our friends.”

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