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Israelis Believe US Projecting Weakness on Syria & Iran, Will Let Iran Go Nuclear

October 10, 2013 | IDI Press Release | For Immediate Release

Majority of Israelis Believe US Projecting Weakness on Syria, Iran

2/3 of Israeli Jews Believe US President Obama Will Let Iran Go Nuclear

Thursday, 10 October 2013, Israel Democracy Institute, 4 Pinsker St., Jerusalem - The Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) and Tel Aviv University are releasing the monthly Peace Index poll covering Israeli public opinion on US influence in the Middle East, Iran's charm offensive, and relations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israelis were polled on US influence, Iran, and the nuclear issue.

  • US Projecting Weakness in Syria: 63% of Israelis (66% of Jewish respondents; 49% of Arab respondents) believe that the US government's handling of Syria is projecting weakness, while 23% (22% of Jewish respondents; 28% of Arab respondents) believe it is projecting power. Among Jewish respondents, 75% of those who place themselves on the political right believe that the US is projecting weakness, as do 58% of those on the left and 56% of centrists.
  • US Projecting Weakness on Iran: 60% of Israelis (64% of Jewish respondents; 40% of Arab respondents) think that the US government is projecting weakness on the Iranian issue, while 22% (20% of Jewish respondents; 31% of Arab respondents) think it is projecting power.
  • US Prevention of Iranian Nuclear Weapons: 67% of Jewish Israelis do not believe that President Obama will fulfill his promise to prevent Iran's development of nuclear weapons at any cost, while 27% do believe he will. In contrast, 42% of Arab Israelis believe that Obama will prevent a nuclear Iran, and 38% do not.
  • Iran Changing Position or Merely Rhetoric: 80% of Israeli Jews believe that Iranian President Rouhani's recent address to the United Nations calling for an agreement with the West does not indicate a real change, just a change in rhetoric; 14% of Israeli Jews believe that it does constitute a real change. 47% of Israeli Arabs believe that a real change is underway, while 42% believe that only the rhetoric has changed.
  • Israel vs. West on Iran: 77% of Jewish Israelis think Prime Minister Netanyahu is right to continue warning the world of the danger Iran poses, while 14% think Western leaders such as the President of France and the US Secretary of State are right to meet with Rouhani to discuss the nuclear issue. In contrast, 56% of Arab Israelis side with Western leaders, and 20% side with Netanyahu.
  • Opposition to Signing Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT): 71% of Israeli Jews do not believe Israel should sign the NPT, while 21% believe they should. Among Jewish respondents, there is a majority among all groups across the political spectrum, including 79% of the self-defined hard right, 77% of the moderate right, 70% of centrists, 60% of the moderate left, and 50% of the hard left. However, 69% of Israeli Arabs are in favor of signing the NPT, and 19% are against.

Israelis were also polled on relations between Israel and the Palestinians.

  • Favorability of Peace Negotiations: 65% of Israelis (61% of Jewish respondents; 88% of Arab respondents) are in favor of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, while 29% (34% of Jewish respondents; 8% of Arab respondents) are against.
  • Chances of Current Talks Leading to an Agreement: 78% of Israelis (81% of the Jewish public; 64% of the Arab public) believe the chances are low that the current talks between Israel and the PA will lead to a significant agreement between the sides, while 15% (14% of the Jewish public; 20% of the Arab public) believe the chances are high.
  • Accepting Responsibility for Palestinian Refugees: In return for a permanent peace agreement, 70% of Israeli Jews would not support Israel accepting partial responsibility for Palestinian suffering including the refugee problem, while 24% would be willing to accept such responsibility. 81% of Israeli Arabs would support accepting responsibility, while 9% would not.
  • Accepting Palestinian Refugees: In return for a permanent peace agreement, 81% of Jewish Israelis do not think Israel should accept the return of a limited number of Palestinian refugees to Israel, while 15% think Israel should. By contrast, 80% of Arab Israelis think Israel should accept a limited number of refugees, and 17% believe Israel should not.
  • Start of Third Intifada?: 60% of Jewish Israelis believe the claim made by the Israeli defense establishment that the two recent murders of Israeli soldiers by Palestinians were crimes by individuals rather than the start of a Third Intifada, while 33% do not. 42% of Arab Israelis accept the defense establishment's explanation, while 48% do not.
  • Palestinians as Neighbors or Enemies: 57% of the Jewish public think of Palestinians more as enemies, 25% think of them more as neighbors, and 14% don't think of them as enemies of neighbors. 80% of the Arab public think of Palestinians more as neighbors, 12% don't think of them as enemies or neighbors, and 4% think of them more as enemies.

This survey, conducted September 30 - October 1, 2013, included 601 respondents who constitute a representative sample of the adult population of Israel. The measurement error for a sample of this size is 4.5%.

The full results of the Peace Index are available on the Peace Index website.

For more information or to schedule an interview with Peace Index Co-Director Prof. Tamar Hermann, contact:
Yehoshua Oz
Director of International Communications

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