Press Release

Can Israel Recognize a Palestinian State?

In the political arena: More Israelis support Israeli recognition of a Palestinian state than those who oppose it; A majority of the left-wing and center camps, but only a third of the right-wing camp believe that the timing of Trump’s announcement of the “Deal of the Century” constitutes U.S. intervention in the elections

President Trump | Flash 90

The Israeli Voice Index for January 2020 - a monthly survey conducted by the Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research at the Israel Democracy Institute – published today, reveals that one-third of Likud voters believe that Israel is able to recognize a Palestinian state; Netanyahu’s investigations are emerging as the issue which will have the greatest effect on voters’ choices in the upcoming elections.

Main Findings 

Deal of the Century – Was the timing essential, or was this an attempt to influence election results? Half the Israeli public believes that by announcing the plan at the present time, the U.S. is meddling in the Israeli elections so as to help Prime Minister Netanyahu win. Nevertheless, this is not a matter of consensus. Among Jews, a third (33.5 %) of members of the right-wing camp believes so, as compared with 78% among the left-wing, and 69% among centrists.

Who can do a better job at conducting political negotiations - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or Blue and White Chairman Benny Gantz? 52% of the Jewish public believes that if negotiations with the Palestinians begin, Netanyahu will manage them better, while 20% believe that Gantz will be more successful. Among Arab Israelis, 39% believe that both will manage the negotiations with equal success. 

What does the public think of Israel’s recognition of a Palestinian state?: 45% of the Israeli public believes that Israel can agree to recognize a Palestinian state within the framework of a peace plan, as compared with 38% who believe that Israel should not. 

The data from the last election indicate that a majority of the voters for the Democratic Camp (79%), Labor-Gesher-Meretz (67%), Blue-White (65%) and Yisrael Beitenu (51%) support such recognition. Support is lower among voters of the Joint List (44%), United Torah Judaism and Likud (33% of each), the New Right (235%) and Shas (23%).

What will be the deciding factor in the elections? 32% of Israelis believe Netanyahu's investigations will be the issue with the greatest impact on voters in the upcoming Knesset elections. Only 21% think the main issue will be the cost of living and housing, followed by security (18%), religion and state (10%) and Jewish-Arab relations (7%).

Clearly, the decision to indict Netanyahu and the public discourse surrounding Netanyahu’s investigations have left their mark. A month and a half before the April 2019 elections, Israelis rated the security situation as the issue with the greatest impact on the vote, (30%), followed by the cost of living and housing (22%), and the investigations of Netanyahu (19%).

Election Day Sabbatical - A majority of the Israeli public (69%) believe that Election Day should be designated as a sabbatical only for those who prove that they fulfilled their civic duty and went to the polls. As far as penalizing non-voters, which is the practice in some countries, the majority of the Israeli public (55%) opposes imposing fines on those who did not vote. 

The Israeli Voice Index is a project of the Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research of the Israel Democracy Institute. In the survey, which was conducted on the internet and by telephone (to supplement the participation of groups that are not sufficiently represented on the network) from January 26 to January 28, 2020, 638 men and women were interviewed in Hebrew and 124 in Arabic, constituting a representative national sample of Israel’s adult population aged 18 and older. The maximum sampling error for the entire sample was 3.7%± at a confidence level of 95%. The fieldwork was done by the Midgam Institute. For the full data file see Data Israel