78% of Israelis approve of the military's execution in Gaza, but only 31% of Israelis think a good job was done communicating the operation's goals to international audiences
Fear of being hit by Hamas fire
In the last days of the Operation, the public was divided between those who feared being hit by Hamas fire, and those who did not. A much higher percentage of women reported being fearful than men (61% vs. 37.5%). Likewise, the percentage of Jews reporting fear was higher than among Arabs (51% vs. 40%).
Fear of injury, by gender and nationality (%)
Analysis of the degree of fear of injury reveals, as expected, a particularly high rate of fear in the Gaza Envelope region, Beer Sheba, Ashdod and Ashkelon, a lower rate in the center, and even lower in the north and south—areas that were not subject to attack.
Fear of injury by area of residence (%, Jewish sample)
Assessment of government's functioning in the course of the Operation
A large majority of the public rated the government's management of the military aspects of the Operation, as "good" or "excellent." A smaller majority gave the government good grades on management of the home-front; about half—on conveying the Operation's goals to the Israeli public, and less than a third—on conveying its goals to international audiences. The latter was perceived by all the population groups we examined as the area in which the government functioned most poorly.
Communities located near the border with Gaza, Sderot, and Beer Sheba were those who gave the government the highest rating with regard to its handling of the home front. (74% -"good" or "excellent"), and for its management of the military aspects (74% -"good" or "excellent").
Rate government functioning as good or excellent, by area of functioning (%, total sample)
Differences between political camps (among Jews) are significant: The Left gives the government lower scores than the Right and the Center in all areas.. However, among all groups, the government's management of the military aspects rates highest, and lowest— on how it conveyed the message of the Operation's goals to international audiences.
Rate government functioning as good or excellent, by area of functioning (%, Jews, by political camp)
Political considerations in the Gaza Operation
The general public is divided on whether the operation in Gaza was related to the Prime Minister's political considerations—that is, as a measure which would help him stay in office. Among the Jewish public, only a minority (though considerable) links the two, but among the Arab public, the majority believe that the operation indeed derived from these political considerations. Analysis of the Jewish respondents by political camp reveals that on the Left, a large majority links the two; in the Center—a small majority, and on the Right—only a small minority.
Link the Gaza Operation to the Prime Minister's political considerations, by ethnic origin and political camp (%)
Ending the Operation without returning the prisoners and missing persons held by Hamas
Among the general public, two-thirds believe that the Operation should not be ended unless the prisoners and missing persons held captive by Hamas are returned. A large gap exists between Jews and Arabs: About three quarters of Jews agree with this statement, while among Arabs—less than a third. Analysis of the Jewish sample by political camp, reveals that a majority among all camps and among both men and women believe that the end of the operation should be conditional on the return of prisoners.
The Gaza Operation should not be ended without the return of the prisoners and missing persons held by Hamas, by nationality, gender, and political camp (% who agree)
What would have happened if a “Change Bloc” (anti-Netanyahu parties who are trying to build a coalition among them) would have been in power?
We examined whether the public believes that a “Change Bloc” would have managed the security crisis and the internal crisis between Jews and Arabs in a way that is significantly different from that of the Netanyahu-led government. Among the general public, a higher percentage believe that a “Change Bloc" would not have managed the security crisis differently. By contrast, the public is split down the middle on the management of the Jewish-Arab crisis; the share of the public who believes that the government would have behaved differently and those who believe that it would not— is very similar.
The ‘"Change Bloc" would have managed the security crisis and the Jewish-Arab crisis differently than the Netanyahu-led government (%, total sample)
51% of Arabs think that the “Change Bloc" would have managed the crisis between Jews and Arabs and 40% think it would have handled the security crisis differently.
However, analysis of the data among Jews by political camp reveals great differences: A large percentage among the Left, believe that a “Government for Change”, would have managed the crises differently. Those in the Center do not believe this is the case with regard to the security crisis, and are somewhat skeptical with regard to the internal crisis, while those on the Right believe that in both areas, a “Government for Change” would have conducted itself similarly to the government led by Netanyahu, perhaps because in their view this was what was required, regardless of who is in power.
The ‘Change Bloc" would have managed the security crisis and the Jewish-Arab crisis differently than the Netanyahu-led government (%, of Jews who agree, by political camp)
The clashes between Jews and Arabs
We examined whether in the public's opinion, those who participated in the clashes on both sides—Jews who harmed Arabs and Arabs who harmed Jews— are a small extremist minority, or whether they represent the majority opinion of the group. Only a minority of Jews believe that the Arabs harming Jews are a small extremist minority who do not reflect the mood of the general Arab public. On the other hand, with regard to Jews who harmed Arabs, a very large majority of Jews believe that this is a small, unrepresentative, and extremist minority; and a majority, albeit a smaller one, among the Arabs hold the same view. In other words, the Arabs are more likely to view more favorably than the Jews view the Arabs, with regard to whether the offenders represent a minority or a majority of the respective group.
Arabs who harmed Jews in the riots are a small and extremist minority; / Jews who harmed Arabs in the riots are a small and extremist minority (%, who agree, Jews and Arabs)
Analysis of the Jewish public by political camp revealed that a large majority in all three camps (Left, Center and Right) believe that the Jews who harmed Arabs belonged to a small extremist minority (77%-87%). However, there was a large difference on the question of whether the Arabs who harmed the Jews belonged to a small extremist minority: in the Right, only a quarter agreed, and in the Center and Left —around half agreed.
Arabs who harmed Jews in the riots are a small extremist minority / Jew who harmed the Arabs in the riots are a small extremist minority (% of Jews who agree, by political camp)
Should the government invest more resources in the Arab public?
About half the Jewish public believes that the government should invest more resources in the Arab public, and slightly less- hold the opposite belief. Among Arabs, a large majority believe that such an investment should be made. Analysis of the Jewish sample by political camp reveals a huge majority on the Left in favor of investing in the Arab public, a smaller majority in the Center, and only a minority supporting such an investment on the Right.
The government should invest more resources in the Arab public by nationality (Arabs/ Jews) and by political camp among Jews (% who agree)
Police management of clashes between Jews and Arabs
We examined whether respondents agree with the claim that the way the police have dealt with the recent riots in various cities, is largely a result of the fact that political echelons have deliberately weakened the police in recent years. A majority of the general public agreed with this claim. No significant difference was found on this issue between Jews and Arabs, but large differences were found between the political camps in the Jewish public – among leftists and centrists, a large majority agrees with this claim, compared to a minority on the right.
Police management of the recent riots is largely the result of its deliberate weakening by the political echelons, by nationality and political camp (% who agree)
Analysis of the data by vote in the Knesset in March this year reveals differences between the voters of the various parties, Most among the Center, the Left, and the Arab parties agree that the way the police dealt with the recent riots is largely the result of the fact that the political echelons have deliberately weakened the police in recent years. By contrast, a minority—albeit significant— among the Right and Ultra-Orthodox parties agree.
Police management of the recent riots is largely a result of its deliberate weakening by the political echelons, by vote for the 24th Knesset (%, Total sample)
The Operation Guardian of the Walls survey was conducted by the Viterbi Family 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 groups that are underrepresented on the Internet) from May 19-20, 2021, 531 men and women were interviewed in Hebrew, and 109 in Arabic, constituting a representative national sample of the entire adult population of Israel aged 18 and older. The maximum sampling error for the entire sample was 3.95%± at a confidence level of 95%. The fieldwork was conducted by the Rafi Smith Institute. For the full data file see: Data Israel.