A poll, conducted by 'Yedioth Aharonoth' and Mina TZemach, published Wednesday morning, demonstrates a continued decrease of public support of Israel's military and political leadership. Almost two-thirds of the public (63 percent) are reasonably certain that Defense Minister, Amir Peretz, did not do his job properly, compared to only 36 percent who thought that he functioned well.
Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, was also criticized - 51 percent of the public think that he dealt with the conflict badly, as opposed to 47 percent who think that he carried it out well. And what of the Chief of General Staff, a day after news of his stock portfolio hit the airwaves? 49 percent of the public support his handling of the war, as opposed to 47 percent who think that he functioned inadequately.
In contrast, public support for IDF soldiers and commanders was sky high. In comparison to a paltry 14 percent who praised the government's conduct during the war, 94 percent of those surveyed expressed approbation for IDF troops.
Regarding personal responsibility for the outcome of the war, Defense Minister Peretz receives the brunt of the censure. More than half of those surveyed (57 percent) think that Peretz needs to resign, as opposed to 41 percent calling for Olmert's resignation and 42 percent desiring to dismiss the Chief of General Staff.
More than a third: No one won the war
The survey illustrates not only the public's criticism of its leadership, but also their desire to assign accountability for the failures of the war: 69 percent believe in the need to create an official national inquiry committee regarding the handling of the war among the political and military echelons. Only 28 percent do not think such a committee is necessary, indicating that the IDF's suggestion on Tuesday – an internal investigative committee led by an IDF officer – is not satisfactory for the majority of the public.
Despite Olmert's decisive victory speech at the end of the conflict, it seems that the public's view of the matter is not as clear cut. Opinions were distributed evenly: 30 percent of Israelis agree with the prime minister, while the same number label Hizbullah as the winner. However, more than a third of those surveyed (36 percent) believe that no one won the war.
The poll also examined the public's satisfaction with the outcomes of the conflict, in particular the ceasefire deal, which left the question of the kidnapped soldiers unanswered. Seventy percent of the public think that Israel should not have agreed to a ceasefire fire without the soldiers' return, in contrast to 27 percent who believe that accepting the ceasefire was the correct decision.