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The Peace Index: Majority of Israelis Will Accept Results of Peace Referendum Even if They Personally Differ

74% of Israeli Jews Believe Americans Applying More Pressure on Israel, 64% Do Not Trust Kerry on Security

March 11, 2014 | For Immediate Release | IDI Press Release

Tuesday, 11 March 2014, Israel Democracy Institute, 4 Pinsker St., Jerusalem – The Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) and Tel Aviv University have released the monthly Peace Index poll, which this month covers Israeli public opinion on a potential US framework agreement, changing the ultra-Orthodox draft status quo, and the role of politics in the classroom.

Foreign Policy / Security Self-Identification

  • Foreign Policy / Security Self-Identification: When asked to place themselves on the political spectrum for foreign policy / security issues, 51% of Israeli Jews identify as right-wing, 28% as centrists, and 13% as left-wing.

An American Framework Agreement

  • Which Side are the Americans Pressuring?: 74% of Israeli Jews believe the Americans are more strongly pressuring Israel than the Palestinians to accept the framework agreement, while 12% believe they are equally pressuring both sides and 5% believe they are more strongly pressuring the Palestinians. (Israeli Jews who see Israel as under more pressure include 86% of the self-defined right-wing, 57% of the center, and 50% of the left-wing.) Among Israeli Arabs, 29% believe the Americans are more strongly pressuring the Palestinians to accept the framework agreement, 26% believe both sides are being equally pressured, and 25% believe Israel is under more pressure.
  • US Secretary of State John Kerry's Concern for Israeli Security: 64% of Israelis (66% of Jewish Israelis and 53% of Arab Israelis) do not trust Kerry to take Israel's security into account as a crucial factor in the framework agreement. 32% of Israelis (31% of Jewish Israelis and 32% of Arab Israelis) do trust Kerry to take into account Israel's security. (Jewish Israelis who trust Kerry on security include 18% of the right, 39% of the center, and 79% of the left.)
  • US Secretary of State John Kerry's Motivation: 60% of Israelis (61% of Jewish Israelis and 56% of Arab Israelis) believe that Kerry's main motivation for reaching a framework agreement is a personal interest in making history as a statesman where others before him had failed. 21% of Israelis (22% of Jewish Israelis and 16% of Arab Israelis) believe Kerry is motivated by honest concern for the future of the two parties, and 9% of Israelis (8% of Jewish Israelis and 14% of Arab Israelis) believe he is equally motivated by the chance to make history and concern for the parties.
  • Recognizing Israel's Jewish Character: When offered an alternative to Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish state, 53% of Israeli Jews do not believe it is possible to settle for Palestinian recognition of Israel "as the national home of the Jewish people" in a framework agreement, while 40% believe it is. [See the January Peace Index for data on the demand for recognition for Israel as the state of the Jewish people.]
  • Israeli Flexibility: 50% of the Jewish public and 69% of the Arab public think Israel should show flexibility on the framework agreement in order to avoid a direct clash with the US. 46% of the Jewish public and 9% of the Arab public think Israel should not show such flexibility.
  • Freezing Settlements: 49% of Israeli Jews and 71% of Israeli Arabs would support a continued freeze on building in the settlements if Prime Minister Netanyahu had agreed to do so in order to allow the framework agreement to continue. 47% of Israeli Jews and 21% of Israeli Arabs would not support a settlement freeze in order to facilitate Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
  • Accepting the Results of a Referendum: 68% of Israeli Jews and 43% of Israeli Arabs say they will accept the framework, even if it goes against their political position, if it is approved by the government and in a referendum. (Israeli Jews who back accepting the decision regardless of their political position include 58% of the right, 81% of the center, and 92% of the left.) 23% of Israeli Jews and 34% of Israeli Arabs say they will act to prevent a framework agreement's implementation if it goes against their political position, even if it is approved by the government and in a referendum.

Israelis were asked about the ultra-Orthodox draft status quo and politics in the classroom.

  • Changing Ultra-Orthodox Draft Status Quo: 69% of the Jewish public believes that, despite so many years of the status quo and their numbers having grown, it is not too late to change the current situation in which haredim do not serve in the IDF. 29% of the Jewish public believes it is too late to change the status quo.
  • Politics in the Classroom: Following the incident with civics teacher Adam Verete criticizing the IDF in class, 55% of Israeli Jews believe that a teacher should never express political positions in class, while 41% believe that a teacher may express political opinions as long as freedom of speech for everyone in class is ensured. Among Israeli Arabs, 71% believe that a teacher should be able to express political positions as long as freedom of speech is ensured for all, and 26% believe a teacher should never express political positions.

This survey, conducted on March 3 - 4, 2014, included 603 respondents who constitute a representative sample of the adult Jewish population of Israel. The measurement error for a sample of this size is 4.1%.

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
press@idi.org.il
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