Summary of the Findings
Is there public support for price-tag actions against Palestinians? Fifty-seven percent of Jewish respondents think that a majority of the Israeli Jewish public opposes price-tag actions against Palestinians. Ten percent believe that a majority supports these actions, and about one-quarter see the public as divided. Among Arab respondents, the prevailing view (42%) is that the Jewish majority supports these actions, while only 25% think the majority opposes them (the remaining respondents take positions between these two positions or do not know).
Is there public support for price-tag actions against the IDF? In this case, close to 90% of the Jewish public sees the majority of the Jewish public as opposing price tag actions. Only 48% of the Arab public, however, believes the Jewish majority opposes these actions, while 44% of Arab respondents say the Jewish public is evenly split between support and opposition.
How do the respondents see the settlers’ positions on price-tag actions against Palestinians? Forty-six percent of the Jewish respondents think that the majority of settlers oppose price-tag actions, 27.5% think that approximately half support these actions and about half oppose them, and 19% believe that most settlers support these actions. Arab respondents take the opposite view: 51% see the majority of settlers supporting actions against Palestinians, and 21% think half of settlers support them. About a quarter of Arab respondents say that the majority of settlers oppose price-tag actions against Palestinians.
What is the settlers’ stance on price-tag actions against the IDF? A majority of the Jewish respondents (71%) think that the majority of settlers oppose price-tag actions against the IDF. The prevailing opinion (41%) among the Arab respondents was also that most settlers oppose actions against the IDF. However, 21% of Arab respondents think half of settlers support such actions against the army and half oppose them, while 29% see the majority of settlers as supporting these actions.
Are the government’s measures against the perpetrators of price-tag actions appropriate? The most common opinion today (48%) among Jewish respondents is that the authorities are dealing with the perpetrators too leniently, about a third (30%) regard the measures as appropriate, and 12% consider them too harsh. As for the Arab respondents, 70% think the authorities are dealing with price-tag perpetrators too leniently.
Was the prime minister right when he decided not to define the price-tag perpetrators as "terrorists"? The Jewish public is split (47%–46%) on this question. A clear majority (72%) of the Arab respondents, however, think or are sure that the prime minister made the wrong choice.
A Jewish majority or rule in Judea and Samaria? We asked: In principle, what is more important to you: That Israel be a state with a Jewish majority or that Judea and Samaria always remain under Israel's control even if they are areas with a large Palestinian population? A clear picture emerges: two-thirds of Jewish respondents preferred maintaining the Jewish nature of the state, while less than a fourth (23%) opted for continued rule over all the territories of the Land of Israel that Israel currently holds, complete with their Palestinian population.
Graph of the month: Is it more important to you that Israel be a state with a Jewish majority or that Judea and Samaria always remain in Israel's control? (Breakdown of those who think a Jewish majority is more important, based on self-definition of religiosity)
The Findings in Detail
The first issue we focused on this month was the public’s positions on different kinds of "price-tag" actions—those directed against Palestinians and those directed against the IDF. We assumed that the positions on these two kinds of actions would be different. We asked a typical projection question: “In the Israeli Jewish public as a whole, does the majority support or oppose price-tag actions against Palestinians?” Fifty-seven percent of Jewish respondents believe that the majority of the Israeli Jewish public opposes price-tag actions against Palestinians, about one-quarter think the public is divided, and some 10% think that the majority supports these actions. In other words, the assessment is that there is more opposition in the Jewish public than division or support, and it is possible that this reflects the distribution pattern of views among the respondents themselves. As for Arab respondents, the situation is the opposite: the prevailing opinion (42%) is that the Jewish majority supports price-tag actions against Palestinians, while only 25% think the majority opposes them (the remaining respondents take positions in between the two or do not know).
When it comes to the Jewish public’s position on price-tag actions against the IDF, the general pattern among the Jewish respondents is similar though more pronounced: in this case, close to 90% of the Jewish public think the majority opposes actions against the IDF. Arab respondents, however, are divided in their opinions: 48% think the Jewish majority opposes these actions, while 44% think that the Jewish public is evenly split between support and opposition. That is, the same Arab respondents who thought a majority of the Jewish public supports price-tag actions against Palestinians understands that actions against the IDF are different, and their assessment, therefore, is that opposition to such acts is widespread.
Since the perpetrators of price-tag attacks have come from the settler population, we examined the general public’s view of the settlers’ positions on price-tag actions against Palestinians. Here too the common assessment (46%) of Jewish respondents is that most settlers oppose such actions, but the rate of those who think the majority of settlers support price-tag actions against the Palestinians is almost double (19%) the rate assumed regarding the support of price-tag actions against Palestinians among the public as a whole. The Arab respondents hold the opposite view: 51% think most of the settlers do in fact support price-tag actions against Palestinians, while 21% think half of settlers do. Only about one-quarter of Arab respondents say that the majority of settlers oppose price-tag actions against Palestinians.
As for the settlers’ positions on price-tag actions against the IDF, 71% of the Jewish respondents believe that the majority of settlers oppose such actions. Among the Arab respondents, the prevailing opinion was also that the majority of settlers oppose actions against the IDF (41%), but 21% thought that half of settlers support such actions with the other half opposed, while 29% of Arab respondents see most of the settlers as supporting price-tag actions against the IDF.
As in October, we asked whether or not the government’s measures against price-tag perpetrators are appropriate. Whereas in October, the prevailing opinion in the Jewish public was that the government's responses are appropriate, this month the most common view among Jewish respondents (48%) is that the authorities are treating the perpetrators too leniently; about a third (30%) regard the measures as appropriate (compared to 38% in October), and 12% see the government's measures as too harsh (similar to the 13% who expressed this view two months ago). The difference between October and December apparently stems from the fact that the major recent price-tag actions were carried out against IDF commanders and facilities. As for the Arab respondents, as in the past, 70% currently say that the authorities are treating the price-tag perpetrators too leniently.
As reported in the news, Prime Minister Netanyahu decided not to define the price-tag perpetrators as "terrorists," while the defense minister and the internal security minister said that perpetrators of such actions should be defined as "terrorists" in order to facilitate effective action against them. We therefore asked: was the prime minister right or wrong when he decided not to define the perpetrators of price-tag actions as “terrorists”? The Jewish public is divided (47%-46%) on this question. A clear majority (72%) of the Arab respondents, however, think that the prime minister was not right.
Regarding the defense minister, we asked an additional question: “Germany, France, Portugal, and Britain recently condemned the Israeli government’s decision to renew building in the territories as well as Israel's failure to prevent price-tag actions. Foreign Minister Lieberman reacted sharply and said this condemnation made these countries ‘irrelevant’ to the process of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In contrast, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that these are friendly countries and that ‘in dealing with them, we not only have to be right but also smart.’" With which of these two positions do you tend to agree more?” In the Jewish public, we found that the rate of those favoring Barak’s position (56%) is considerably higher than the rate of those supporting Lieberman’s position (36%). This division of positions seems to explain the differing assessments of Lieberman’s performance as foreign minister and of Barak’s performance as defense minister. The rate (a majority) of those who think Barak is performing well (58%) is higher than the rate (a minority) who think the same about Lieberman (48%).
We went on to probe what is more important in the eyes of the Jewish public today—a Jewish majority in the State of Israel or control of Judea and Samaria? We asked: “In principle, what is more important to you: that Israel be a country with a Jewish majority or that Judea and Samaria always remain under Israel's control even if they are areas with a large Palestinian population?” The picture is clear: two-thirds preferred preserving the Jewish character of the country, while less than a fourth (23%) favored continued control over all parts of the Land of Israel that Israel currently controls, complete with their Palestinian population. A segmentation by respondents’ degree of religiosity showed that only among religious Jews does a minority prefer continued control of the territories over ensuring that Israel has a Jewish majority (the rate preferring that Israel have a Jewish majority is 57% for haredi respondents, 32% for religious, 69% for traditional-religious, 79% for traditional-secular, and 70.5% for secular respondents).
Amid the ongoing discussion of which values should be of cardinal importance to the Israeli collective, we tried to clarify to the extent to which the citizens of Israel currently support the values set forth in the Declaration of Independence. The survey findings show that, at present, only about two-thirds (63.5%) of the Jewish public thinks the state of Israel should fulfill all the principles that form the constitutional basis of Israel’s definition as a Jewish democratic state, including total equality of social and political rights for all citizens without regard to religion, race, and gender; ensuring freedom of religion, conscience, language, education, and culture; and safeguarding the holy places of all religions. About one-quarter of respondents say Israel should fulfill most of these principles, and 9% say that Israel should fulfill only some of them. The pattern of support in the Arab public is similar, but the rate of support for fulfilling all of the principles of the Declaration’s is lower—54%. Twenty-four percent are in favor of fulfilling most of the principles, while 10% favor fulfilling only some.
A partial explanation for the reservations of a considerable minority about fulfilling all of the aforementioned principles can perhaps be found in the Jewish public’s widespread perception (71%) that the state is currently only partially upholding these principles. Four percent think that Israel is not upholding them at all, while only 21% think Israel is upholding them completely. In other words, in the eyes of the Jewish public, the state itself cannot serve as an example for maintaining the democratic values set forth in the Declaration of Independence. Among Arab respondents, 50% think the state is only partially fulfilling the values of the Declaration, while 47% think that the state is not fulfilling them at all. Only 3% responded that Israel is fully upholding these values.
The Negotiations Index for December, 2011
The Peace Index project includes ongoing monitoring of the Israeli public's attitudes towards peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The monthly
Negotiation Index is comprised of two questions, one focusing on public support for peace negotiations and the other on the degree to which the public believes that such talks will actually lead to peace. The aggregated replies to these two questions are calculated, combined, and standardized on a scale of 0-100, in which 0 represents total lack of support for negotiations and lack of belief in their potential to bear fruit, and 100 represents total support for the process and belief in its potential. Each month, the Negotiations Index presents two distinct findings, one for the general Israeli population and the other for Jewish Israelis.
Negotiations Index: General sample: 47.0%; Jewish sample: 47.7%
The Peace Index is a project of the Evens Program in Mediation and Conflict Resolution at Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute. This month's survey was conducted by telephone on December 26-28 by the Dahaf Institute. The survey included 600 respondents, who constitute a representative sample of the adult Jewish population of Israel. The measurement error for a sample of this size is 4.5%; statistical processing was done by Ms. Yasmin Alkalay.