Israeli Voice Index

Many Israelis believe a deal with Saudi Arabia would strengthen PM Netanyahu politically

Advanced release of select polling data from the September 2023 Israel Voice Index

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In last month's Israel Voice Index (August 2023), we released polling data that reflected a hypothetical deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia. In September, as it is widely known that negotiations have been underway between Israel and Saudi Arabia under the auspices of the United States, we asked two questions regarding the expected impact of the negotiations and a possible agreement on domestic matters.

Mohammad Bin Salman al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia

The first question concerned the effect of such an agreement on Prime Minister Netanyahu's political standing. The highest proportion (41%) believe that such a move will strengthen Prime Minister Netanyahu's position. A similar though slightly smaller proportion (39%), estimate that his political standing will remain as it was, and only a small minority (5%) believe that his standing will weaken. In addition, 15% said they did not know. As the figure below shows, the differences between Jewish and Arab Israelis are fairly small.

When broken down by vote in the last Knesset elections, we found that only about half (52%) of the coalition voters believe that an agreement with Saudi Arabia will strengthen the standing of Prime Minister Netanyahu (among the opposition voters - 37%). When broken down according to political orientation (among Jews), we found that the differences in assessments between them are not substantial, although the right expects that an agreement would strengthen the Prime Minister's standing more so than the center and the left.

The second question we asked regarding the impact of a deal with Saudi Arabia addressed the protests against the government's judicial plan. The position of the majority in the sample, and among all political orientations, is that signing an agreement will not affect the protests. About a two-thirds majority on the left believe this, and in the center and on the right this majority is smaller (64%, 55% and 58%, respectively).

These pre-released polling questions were prepared by the Viterbi Family Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research at the Israel Democracy Institute. The survey was conducted via the internet and by telephone (to include groups that are under-represented on the internet) between September 18 and 21, 2023, with 609 men and women interviewed in Hebrew and 152 in Arabic, constituting a nationally representative sample of the adult population in Israel aged 18 and over. The maximum sampling error was ±3.55% at a confidence level of 95%. Field work was carried out by the Dialogue Research and Polling Institute.