Netanyahu should not be offered a plea bargain, 52 percent of Israelis say


JERUSALEM (JTA) —  Just over half of Israelis, or 52 percent, do not think that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be offered a plea bargain in which he would admit to the corruption charges against him and retire from public life without a trial.

In addition, 58 percent of Israelis do not think that Netanyahu would agree to such a deal.

The findings of the September Israeli Voice Index — a monthly survey conducted by the Guttman Center at the Israel Democracy Institute — were released Wednesday as the pre-indictment hearings into three corruption cases against Netanyahu began at the Justice Ministry in Jerusalem.

The monthly poll also found that some 64 percent of Jewish Israelis prefer a unity government; only 15 percent preferred a third round of elections. Among Arab Israelis, 33 percent prefer a unity government, 17 percent new elections and the rest have no clear preference.

The strongest support for a unity government was recorded among Blue and White and Yisrael Beiteinu party voters, and the weakest among voters for the haredi Orthodox parties.

Meanwhile, 74 percent of Jewish Israelis oppose including Arab parties in the government or appointing an Arab minister – up significantly from January, when the opposition stood at 49 percent. Among Arab Israelis, support for inclusion in the government has declined to 66 percent – down from 76 percent in January.

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