Poll: Most Israelis support Netanyahu's Iran stance
Published Friday 18/10/2013 (updated) 20/10/2013 09:47
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech
during the opening of the Knesset's (Israel's parliament) winter
session, in Jerusalem, on October 14, 2013.(AFP/Gali Tibbon)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Most Israelis support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's stance on the Iran nuclear issue after Tehran met world powers in Geneva this week, an opinion poll showed on Friday.
Some 58 percent of respondents to the question, "How would you rate Netanyahu's recent performance in the global arena vis-a-vis Iran?" said it was good (41 percent) or very good (17 percent), said the poll published in Haaretz newspaper.
Netanyahu and his government expressed bitter skepticism over nuclear talks in Geneva between Iran and the P5+1 countries - the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany - warning his Western allies they risked being duped into easing sanctions prematurely.
The prime minister said Israel reserved the right to carry out a unilateral military strike to prevent Iran obtaining nuclear weapons capability.
The P5+1 and Israel, Iran's arch-foe, fear that Tehran's atomic program is a disguised effort to develop nuclear weapons capability, a claim it denies vehemently.
Netanyahu's tough stance on foreign affairs - including Iran and negotiations with the Palestinians - and his sidelining of domestic issues since his re-election in January have been working to his advantage, the poll said.
It said 63 percent of respondents thought Netanyahu was the best person for prime minister, compared with 56 percent who said the same thing in a July survey.
The poll was carried out on October 15 by the Dialog Institute under the supervision of Professor Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University, and questioned 501 people with an error margin of 4.4 percent.
The survey follows Iranian President Rouhani's calls for Israel to give up its own currently existing nuclear program as part of a move to create a nuclear weapons-free zone across the Middle East. Israel has never declared its own nuclear bombs but is widely suspected to have many.
"Israel, the only non-party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty in this region, should join thereto without any further delay," Rouhani told a meeting on Sept. 26.
He said that "all nuclear activities in the region" would then be subject to International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.
"No nation should possess nuclear weapons, since there are no right hands for these wrong weapons," added Rouhani.