Press Release

Israelis Support Deportation of Asylum Seekers

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The monthly Peace Index of the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, published today, found that the large majority of the public is in favor of opening certain businesses on Shabbat, 66% of the Jewish public and half of the Arab public support the government’s decision to deport asylum seekers to African countries willing to absorb them, and 70% of the Jewish public views the United States position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as pro-Israeli.

The United States and Israel: A large majority of the Jewish public (70%) views the United States’ position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the ways to resolve it as pro-Israeli. Sixteen percent see it as neutral and a negligible minority (4%) regards it as pro-Palestinian. This distribution of responses is completely different from what our measurements yielded during President Obama’s tenure. For example, when the same question was asked in May 2011, only 14% responded that the then-president’s policy was more pro-Israeli, 31% answered that it was more pro-Palestinian, and 46% replied that it was neutral.

The Asylum Seekers: Two-thirds (66%) of the Jewish public support the government’s decision to deport asylum seekers to African countries that are prepared to absorb them. A segmentation by political camps revealed large gaps between the right, where 78% supported it, the center, where 35% supported the decision, and the left, where only a small minority (25%) supported the decision. In the Arab public, about one-half support the government’s decision while 37% oppose it. That support can perhaps be understood in terms of the economic competition that the asylum seekers constitute for the Arab workers in certain professions.

Rabbis, Women and Military Service: A majority of the Jewish public (61%) supports Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s denunciation of the statements by Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef and Rabbi Shlomo Aviner opposing military service by women. The gaps according to religiosity are very large: 79% of the secular support Liberman’s denunciation, 71.5% of the traditional non- religious, and only 38% of the religious traditional, 30% of the religious, while among the ultra-Orthodox the rate was close to zero - 2%.

Opening businesses on Shabbat: Against the backdrop of the ongoing struggles over the nature of Shabbat in Israel, and the move by Interior Minister Deri to tighten enforcement among the local authorities via the “convenience-stores law,” we see that the majority of the public wants to open on Shabbat: 66% - convenience stores, 69.5% - cafes, 69% - movie theatres, 66% - private medical clinics and 62% - supermarkets. More than two-thirds of the public wants public transportation to run on Shabbat.

This month's survey was conducted by telephone and Internet on January 30-31, 2018, by the Midgam Research Institute. The survey included 600 respondents- 500 Jews and 100 Arabs - who constitute a representative national sample of the adult population of Israel aged 18 and over. The maximum measurement error for the entire sample is ±4.1% at a confidence level of 95%. Statistical analyses were done by Ms. Yasmin Alkalay.

For the full report