Among Jewish Israelis, 75% on the Left support making progress toward a two-state solution to the conflict in return for American assistance, compared to 45% in the Center and only 21% on the Right.
The survey was conducted by the Viterbi Family Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research at the Israel Democracy Institute between November 27–30, 2023, using a representative sample of 600 Jewish Israelis and 151 Arab Israelis.
Topics covered in this report:
- Optimism/pessimism about the future of democratic rule in Israel and the future of Israel’s security
- Support for and opposition to the deal for the release of the hostages
- Resuming the fighting in Gaza after the ceasefire
- Integrating women into combat roles in the IDF
- Media consumption at different stages of the war
- Support for and opposition to Israel agreeing to the American plan for a two-state solution
- Israelis’ worries about their and their families’ future physical and economic security
- Expectations regarding the cohesion of Israeli society after the war
- Mass civil protests immediately after the war?
For the second month in succession, the Israeli Voice survey has found a rise in public optimism regarding both the future of Israel’s security and the future of democratic rule in Israel. This trend, seen by some as a form of “rallying to the flag,” has also been found in other countries in wartime when the state is able to demonstrate what are seen as successes on the battlefield with a relatively low number of casualties among its own forces.
Cross-referencing opinions on both issues reveals a high level of overlap between them: 70% of optimists about the future of democratic rule in Israel are also optimistic about the future of national security, while 71% of those who are pessimistic about the future of democracy are also pessimistic about security.
Optimistic about the future of democratic rule in Israel and about the future of national security, June 2022–November 2023 (total sample; %)
However, as can be seen in the table below, the share of optimists in both cases is much higher in the Jewish sample than in the Arab sample. Almost half of Jewish respondents are now optimistic about the future of both national security and democracy, a level of optimism not seen for a long time.
At the same time, there remain sizable differences between political camps in the Jewish sample. On both issues, the share of optimists is highest among those on the Right (future of national security: 53.5% on the Right compared with 48% in the Center and 41% on the Left; future of democratic rule: 61% on the Right compared with 40% in the Center and 35% on the Left). Furthermore, in the Center and on the Left, there is greater optimism about the future of national security than about the future of democracy, while on the Right, optimism about democracy is higher than optimism about security. Finally, while only minorities of those on the Left and in the Center are optimistic (albeit large minorities) in both cases, optimists constitute a majority on the Right regarding both the future of national security and the future of democratic rule in Israel.
We asked: “Should Israel have agreed to the current deal for the release of hostages, which includes, among other elements, a temporary ceasefire and the phased release of hostages (women and children only) in exchange for the release of three times as many female and juvenile Palestinian terrorists?” Around two-thirds of our respondents said that Israel should have agreed to the deal, compared with just a quarter (24%) who took the opposite view. There was stronger support for the deal from Arab respondents than from Jewish respondents (72% compared with 62%, respectively), perhaps because it included the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.
Breaking down responses in the Jewish sample by political orientation finds a majority in each political camp in favor of the deal, though the size of this majority is largest on the Left and considerably smaller in the Center and on the Right.
Think that Israel should have agreed to the current deal for the release of hostages (Jewish sample, by political orientation; %)
A breakdown by religiosity (Jewish sample) reveals that the national religious/national Haredi group is the only one in which only a minority expressed support for the hostage deal. The highest level of support was found among secular respondents. A breakdown by age (Jewish sample) shows that the older the respondents, the stronger their support for the deal, seemingly because older age groups in Israel are generally more secular and identify more strongly as on the Left.
Large differences were also found between voters for the different parties at the 2022 elections (total sample). The strongest support for the deal came from voters for Hadash-Ta’al, Labor, and National Unity, while the weakest support was expressed by voters for the Haredi parties and Yisrael Beytenu, and most especially by Religious Zionism voters, the only voting group among which there is not majority support for the deal.
Support the deal for the release of the hostages (Jewish sample and total sample; %)
Among Jewish respondents, there is very strong support for resuming the fighting in Gaza as it was before (87%), with a majority in favor in each of the political camps (Left, 74%; Center, 84%; Right, 93%). There were also differences between the camps in the share of respondents who said they are “certain” that fighting should be resumed in the same manner, with a large majority on the Right (79.5%) and in the Center (69%), compared with a minority on the Left (45%). Only a small minority of Jews support shifting to a different form of combat in order to reduce Palestinian civilian casualties and minimize international pressure (7%). By contrast, among Arab respondents there is a very low level of support for continuing the fighting as it was before (20.5%).
Think/certain that after the ceasefire, fighting in Gaza should be resumed as it was before (Jewish sample, by political orientation, and Arab sample; %)
During the war against Hamas, many stories of heroic actions by female IDF combat soldiers have emerged. Against the backdrop of the ongoing public debate over whether female soldiers should or should not be deployed in combat roles, we asked our Jewish respondents: “In your opinion, should the integration of women into combat roles in the IDF be expanded or reduced?” Public opinion is clearly in favor of women serving in combat positions. Around half (51%) think that the integration of women into combat roles should be expanded, around a quarter that the current situation should be maintained (24%), and only a small proportion say that women’s service in combat roles should be reduced (13%).
Unsurprisingly, a clear association was found between religiosity and views on this topic: A majority of Haredim think that the integration of women into combat roles should be reduced, as do around two-thirds of national religious and national Haredi respondents. By contrast, a majority of traditional non-religious and secular respondents believe that there should be more women in combat roles in the IDF.
In your opinion, should the integration of women into combat roles in the IDF be expanded or reduced? (Jewish sample, by religiosity; %)
While a small majority of women (57%) think that women’s service in combat roles should be expanded, only a minority of men hold the same view, albeit a very large minority (46%). A combined breakdown by religiosity and gender reveals significant differences in some of the religious groups: Though 38% of national religious women prefer to expand the integration of women into combat roles and only 14% would rather reduce it, the picture is reversed among national religious men, with the largest share in favor of reducing women’s service in combat roles (44%), and only 10% supporting its expansion. Among Haredim, 66% of men say that integration of women into combat roles should be reduced, compared with just under half (46%) of Haredi women. In the secular public, no significant difference was found between support among women (70%) and men (67%) for increasing the number of women serving in combat roles.
We were interested in whether there have been changes in the sources used by Israel’s citizens to keep up to date with the news between the beginning of the war (immediately after October 7) and today. As the figure below shows, the main source for news information, for Jews and Arabs alike, was and remains television channels and radio stations in Israel, though there has been a decline in the market share of this source since October 7. Among Jewish respondents, hardly any have consumed their news from television channels and radio stations in Arab countries, but this was and remains the second most important news source for Arab respondents, and has even slightly increased in popularity since the beginning of the war.
In second place among Jewish respondents are news websites on the internet, which also have seen a certain rise in popularity since October 7. Among both Jews and Arabs, the use of instant messaging apps (such as WhatsApp or Telegram) for accessing news has increased over this period. Interestingly, the prevalence of the use of social media as the main source of news is lower among Jews than among Arabs, and it has even declined among Jews since the start of the war, while remaining stable in the Arab public.
Preferred main source for news information at the beginning of the war and today (Jewish sample and Arab sample; %)
A breakdown of responses in the Jewish sample by political orientation reveals that most of the decline in news consumption from Israeli TV and radio stations occurred among those who define themselves as on the Left—from 65% immediately after October 7 to 51% today. On the Left there has also been a sharp rise in the use of news websites, from 19% at the beginning of the war to 29% today. In the two other political camps, patterns of media consumption have remained more stable. We also found that today, those on the Right rely more on social media and on instant messaging apps than do those in the Center and on the Left (24%, 16.5%, and 18%, respectively).
The formula of “two states for two peoples” has been on the Israeli agenda to some degree or another for many years. After several years in which it seemed to have lost some of its prominence, this idea has recently returned to center stage. We therefore asked our respondents: “President Biden has repeatedly stated that the large-scale assistance Israel is receiving from the United States is dependent on progress toward a fundamental solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on the basis of the two-states-for-two-peoples formula. In your opinion, after the war, should Israel agree or not agree to pursue this direction?” We found that a majority of Jews think that Israel should not agree to take this course, while a majority of Arabs are in favor of it.
Should Israel agree or not agree to pursue the two-state solution in order to continue to receive American assistance? (Jewish and Arab samples; %)
A breakdown by political orientation in the Jewish sample reveals that only on the Left is there a majority (75%) who support making progress toward a two-state solution to the conflict in return for American assistance, as part of the plan put forward by President Biden. In the Center, this course of action is supported by a large minority (45%), and on the Right, only by a small minority (21%).
After almost two months of war, we once again asked our respondents about the extent of their concerns for the physical security and economic security of their immediate family members and themselves in the near future. Among Jews, there has been a lessening of fears in both areas, with this decline most noticeable regarding physical security (from 63% to 46%). By contrast, there has been an increase in worry among Arab respondents regarding both aspects since the beginning of the war, with the sharpest rise found in concerns about future economic security (from 69% to 82%).
Worried about the future of their and their immediate family members’ physical security and economic security (Jewish sample and Arab sample; %)
We asked: “Many people are talking about national unity at the moment. In your assessment, will the Israeli public be more united or more divided after the war than it was in the period beforehand?” The majority of Jews think (or perhaps hope?) that after the war, the Israeli public will be more united. Among Arabs, the most common response, though not a majority opinion, is that the Israeli public will actually be more divided than before. Presumably because of the speculative nature of the question, a particularly large share of respondents selected the “don’t know” response in both the Jewish sample and the Arab sample (22% and 25.5%, respectively).
After the war, will the Israeli public be more united or more divided than it was in the period beforehand? (Jewish sample and Arab sample; %)
In every religious grouping in the Jewish sample, there is a majority who think that the Israeli public will be more united when the fighting is over (Haredi, 70.5%; national religious, 59%; traditional religious, 70%; traditional non-religious, 51%; secular, 61%), and the same is true of each of the political camps (Left, 56%; Center, 62%; Right, 62%).
There have been predictions that after the war, there will be a wave of mass civil protests demanding that those responsible for the failures of October 7 are held to account. We asked our respondents whether or not they think that such protests will indeed break out. A very large majority answered in the affirmative (total sample, 72%; Jews, 73%; Arabs, 64%).
A breakdown of responses in the Jewish sample by political orientation reveals that in all three political camps, a large majority expect a wave of protests after the war, with the size of that majority largest on the Left and smallest on the Right.
Think or are certain that after the war, a wave of mass civil protests will break out in Israel demanding that those responsible for the failures of October 7 are held to account (Jewish sample, by political orientation; %)
The November 2023 Israeli Voice Index was 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 November 27–30, 2023, with 600 men and women interviewed in Hebrew and 151 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. The full data file can be found at: https://dataisrael.idi.org.il.