JERUSALEM (AFP) — Half of Israeli voters are unhappy with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after he agreed tax hikes and spending cuts in a two-year budget, according to a poll on Channel 10 network on Thursday.
Some 48 percent of people questioned said they were "unhappy with his conduct" of government business while 26 percent had a positive opinion and 26 percent had no view, the television station reported.
The figures revealed a sharp downturn from the previous poll two weeks ago when a majority of those interviewed said they were satisfied with the right-wing premier, who will fly to the United States on Sunday for his first meeting with President Barack Obama.
After tough negotiations, the government on Wednesday adopted a 2009 and 2010 budget including an increase in VAT and cuts in spending by various ministries, though defence funding is little affected.
The budget went through following a compromise with trades union federation Histadrout modifying initial finance ministry proposals for more severe cuts and deeper reductions in welfare payments.
Media severely criticised Netanyahu, accusing him of weakness in countering the demands of his departmental ministers.
The poll was carried out in the past few days by an independent body amongst a sample of 500 people. The results have a 4.5 percent margin of error.
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