Most Israelis blame Netanyahu for failing to prevent Hamas attack, poll shows
PHOTO CAPTION: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the media during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. Maya Alleruzzo/Pool via REUTERS
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - As many as 80% of Israelis believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must take responsibility for the security failures exposed by the devastating Oct. 7 assault on Israeli by Hamas, a poll in the Ma'ariv newspaper showed on Friday.
The army chief of staff, the head of military intelligence and the head of the Shin Bet intelligence service have all admitted their services failed to prevent the attack, in which some 1,400 Israelis were killed on the deadliest day in Israel's 75-year-old history.
Netanyahu's coalition partner, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, has also said the government leadership and security leadership had failed to protect the country but the premier himself has yet to make a clear statement of responsibility.
Netanyahu said this week that there are many questions regarding the Oct. 7 attack and "we will investigate everything thoroughly".
Even among voters of Netanyahu's ruling Likud party, 69% said he should accept responsibility.
The survey showed Netanyahu lagging far behind former Defence Minister Benny Gantz, head of an opposition centrist party who joined a unity government last week. It said 48% of respondents thought Gantz would make a better prime minister, compared with only 28% for Netanyahu.
The poll indicated that 65% of Israelis were in support of the expected ground invasion of Gaza by Israeli troops.
The poll was conducted on Oct. 18 and 19 among 510 respondents and had a 4.3% margin of error, Ma'ariv said.
(Reporting by James Mackenzie; editing by Jason Neely)