Two thirds of Israelis do not think that the government currently has a clear plan of action for the next day and the majority, even on the right, believe elections should be held as soon as the war ends. Even so, no significant movement is currently indicated between the political blocs.
This seventh flash survey was conducted by the Viterbi Family Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research at the Israel Democracy Institute. Data collection was carried out between December 11–13, 2023, with 503 men and women interviewed via the internet and by telephone in Hebrew and 101 in Arabic. The maximum sampling error was ±4.06% at a confidence level of 95%. Field work was carried out by the Lazar Research Institute headed by Dr. Menachem Lazar.
Topics covered in this report:
- Does the government have a clear plan for the day after the war?
- The likelihood of Israel achieving its declared goals for the war
- The suffering of the Palestinian population as a factor in planning the fighting
- The IDF, international law, and the rules of war
- Assessments of Israel’s PR efforts regarding the October 7 attack and the war in Gaza
- Participation in civilian volunteering
- International criticism of Israel during the war: Is it driven by antisemitism?
- Expected participation in protests demanding that leaders are held to account for the failures of October 7
- Elections immediately after the war?
- Who will respondents vote for?
- Back to normality?
- Feeling closer to religion
A two-thirds majority of the total sample currently think that the government does not have a clear plan of action for the day after, almost exactly the same proportion as found in the survey we conducted three weeks ago (19–20 November). The distribution of responses in both the Jewish and Arab samples is also the same as it was last time.
In your opinion, does the government currently have a clear plan of action for the day after the end of the fighting in Gaza? (total sample; %)
Breaking down responses in the Jewish sample by political orientation reveals that large majority of those on the Left and in the Center think that the government does not have a clear plan of action for the future (88% and 84%, respectively), compared with around half of those on the Right (51%). A breakdown by vote in the last Knesset elections shows that the lowest shares of respondents who think that the government has no clear plan are found among voters for Shas (36%), Likud (45%), and Religious Zionism (49%). Among voters for all the other parties – including United Torah Judaism (54%) – this view is held by more than half.
The two main goals for the war that were set by Israel’s leaders were destroying Hamas’s military and political infrastructure, and bringing all the hostages home. Some two and a half months since the war began, around two-thirds of all respondents think that the first goal, of toppling Hamas, is achievable. By contrast, only just over a third (35.5%) think it will be possible to bring back all the hostages. Around a quarter believe that Israel will be able to achieve both these goals.
In terms of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure, the proportion of Jewish interviewees who think there is a high likelihood of achieving this is more than double the equivalent proportion of Arab interviewees. By contrast, when it comes to the return of the hostages, a considerably larger share of Arab respondents than Jewish respondents think there is a high likelihood of this.
A breakdown of the Jewish sample by political orientation reveals that the Left has the smallest proportion of respondents who believe in Israel’s ability to achieve these goals and the Right has the largest, with the Center in between. Across all three camps, a much larger share of respondents think that toppling Hamas is possible than think that Israel can achieve the return of all the hostages.
Think there is a high likelihood that Israel will succeed in destroying Hamas’s military and political infrastructure and bringing all the hostages home (Jewish sample and Arab sample; %)
We asked the same question we presented back in mid-October, about the extent to which Israel should take into consideration the suffering of the Palestinian population in Gaza when planning its military operations there. Here, too, there has been no change in the distribution of responses. Now, as in October, a large majority of Jewish interviewees (81%) think that this factor should not affect Israel’s military planning, while a large majority of Arab interviewees (83%) hold the opposite view, and think that it should be taken into account to a large extent.
To what extent should Israel take into consideration the suffering of the civilian population in Gaza when planning the continuation of the fighting there? (Jewish sample and Arab sample; %)
In the Jewish sample, we found large differences between political camps, though in all three there is a large majority who think that the suffering of the Palestinian population should not influence Israel’s planning of the war – almost total consensus on the Right (89%), more than three-quarters of those in the Center (77.5%), and just over half of those on the Left (53%).
An overwhelming majority of Jewish respondents think that the IDF is trying to ensure that its military actions in Gaza obey international law and the rules of war. By contrast, a majority of around two-thirds of Arab respondents have the opposite view—that is, that the IDF is not endeavoring to meet these international standards.
In your opinion, to what extent is the IDF trying to ensure that its military actions in Gaza obey international law and the rules of war? (Jewish sample and Arab sample; %)
On this question we found almost no differences between the three political camps (Jewish sample), with a large majority in each who think that the IDF is indeed striving to ensure that its military actions in Gaza are in accordance with international law and the rules of war (Left, 88%; Center, 94%; Right, 92%).
Despite certain differences between different population groups, the overall assessment of Israel’s public relations efforts abroad regarding the events of October 7 and the subsequent war in Gaza is currently negative. In the Jewish sample, the most common view (though not the majority view) is that these efforts have been poor or very poor, while in the Arab sample, this is the view of the majority.
On a scale from 1 = very poor to 5 = excellent, what grade would you give today to Israel’s public relations efforts abroad regarding the events of October 7 and the subsequent war against Hamas? (Jewish sample and Arab sample; %)
A breakdown of the Jewish sample by political orientation reveals that 47% of those on the Left have a negative opinion of Israel’s public relations efforts abroad, as do exactly half of those in the Center (50%) and only one-third of those on the Right (33%).
We asked: “Have you participated or not participated in any form of volunteering activity related to the war, and if so, in what field of activity?” Interviewees were given the option of choosing more than one response.
Volunteering rates: Three-quarters of Jewish respondents and around 30% of Arab respondents reported having participated in at least one volunteering activity since the beginning of the war. We found differences between men and women: In both the Jewish and Arab samples, a larger proportion of women have participated in volunteering than men (Jews: women, 78%; men, 69%; Arabs: women, 33%; men, 25%).
A breakdown of the Jewish sample by political orientation finds a large majority in all three camps who have participated in volunteering, though the proportion of volunteers is higher on the Left than in the Center and on the Right. We did not find meaningful differences between the different religious groups.
Participated in a civilian volunteering activity (total sample, Jewish sample, and Arab sample; %)
Type of volunteering: A breakdown by type of volunteering activity reveals that the most popular option has been donating money to buy equipment for soldiers or evacuees. In second place is collecting, packing, or transporting equipment and food for soldiers, and in third place, the same activities for evacuees. The lowest levels of volunteering were found in agricultural work and in other activities such as giving blood, treating and helping animals from the Gaza border region, prayer, hosting evacuees, and more.
Types of volunteering activity (respondents who reported participating in civilian volunteering activities; more than one response could be selected; %)
In many countries, there have been mass demonstrations and loud public criticism against Israel for its conduct during the war in Gaza. Our survey found that the majority of Jewish respondents think that the main reason for this is antisemitism and hatred of Israel. By contrast, more than half of the Arab respondents believe that the main factor behind this criticism and the demonstrations has been the civilian casualties and destruction inflicted by Israel during the war in Gaza.
In many Western countries there have been mass demonstrations and loud public criticism against Israel for its conduct during the war in Gaza. What do you think is the main reason for this? (Jewish sample and Arab sample; %)
Breaking down the Jewish sample by religiosity reveals that a large majority of Haredi (85%), national religious (74%), traditional religious (72%), and traditional non-religious (66%) respondents believe that the main reason for public criticism in other countries is antisemitism and hatred of Israel. Among secular Jews, only around a half hold this opinion (49%), while a relatively high proportion (31%) selected the “both reasons equally” response.
In many Western countries there have been mass demonstrations and loud public criticism against Israel for its conduct during the war in Gaza. What do you think is the main reason for this? (Jewish sample, by political orientation; %)
We asked: “Some people have predicted that after the war, a wave of mass civil protests will break out in Israel calling for the political and military leaders responsible for the failure of October 7 to be held to account. Do you think that you personally will participate in such protests?” As a whole, our respondents are divided on this issue, with almost identical shares saying that they will participate in future protests (44%) and that they will not participate (43%). We found almost no difference between Jews and Arabs: 44% of Jews and 46% of Arabs intend to participate in such protests.
Among Jews, we found large differences according to both political orientation and religiosity: A majority on the Left (85%) and in the Center (60%) plan to participate in such protests, compared with a minority on the Right (29%). Around two-thirds of secular Jews (63%) say they will take part in future protests, compared with less than half of traditional non-religious Jews (47%), around a fifth of traditional religious (19%) and national religious (21%) Jews, and only a tiny minority of Haredim (8%).
Breaking down responses by vote in the last Knesset elections reveals that the majority of voters for opposition parties, compared with a minority of voters for coalition parties, intend to participate in protests calling for political and military leaders to be held to account for the failure of October 7. It should be noted that interviewees who voted for the National Unity party, which is now part of the coalition, are much closer to opposition party voters in their responses to this question than to coalition party voters.
After the war, will you participate in protests calling for the political and military leaders responsible for the failure of October 7 to be held to account? (total sample, by vote in the last Knesset elections; %)
Should elections be held immediately after the end of the war? More than two-thirds of all respondents (69%) believe that elections should be held as soon as the war is over (Jews, 66%; Arabs, 84%). In the Jewish sample, there is almost perfect consensus in this regard on the Left (98.5%), and an overwhelming majority of those in the Center agree (85%). On the Right, around one-half would like there to be elections immediately after the war (51.5%).
Breaking down responses by vote in the last Knesset elections reveals that a large majority of opposition party voters think or are certain that elections should be held as soon as the war finishes, including 89% of voters for the National Unity party, which as noted is now part of the coalition. We further found that almost half of Likud voters and Religious Zionism voters are in favor of elections immediately after the war.
Think or are certain that Knesset elections should be held immediately after the war (total sample; %)
Voting intentions at the next elections: More than a quarter (28%) of interviewees in all sub-groups have not yet decided who they will vote for if elections are held after the war. The proportion of those who think today that they will vote for the same party as last time is lowest among Jewish respondents on the Left and highest among Arabs. It should also be noted that no significant movement is currently indicated between political blocs: the majority of respondents say that they will vote either for the same party they voted for in the last elections or for a different party in the same bloc (57%).
And if Knesset elections are held, how will you vote? (Jewish sample, by political orientation, and Arab sample; %)
We found a similar distribution of responses in a survey conducted at the end of October, though last time only 8.5% of Likud voters said they intended to vote for a party from a different bloc, and now this percentage has almost doubled, to 16%.
And if Knesset elections are held, how will you vote? (total sample, by vote in the last elections; %)
Our respondents (total sample) are divided on the question of whether their personal life has or has not returned to normal: 47% say that they have not gone back to living as they were before, while 49% say that they have. In the Jewish sample, 47% reported that their lives have not returned to normal, compared with 51% who have resumed their previous routine. In the Arab sample, 49% have not regained normality while 40% have.
A breakdown of the Jewish sample by religiosity reveals that the highest share of respondents who report having returned to normal is found in the Haredi population, while the lowest shares are in the secular and the traditional non-religious groups.
To what extent has your personal life (such as work, media consumption, get-togethers with family and friends, etc.) returned to normal, or close to normal, recently? (Jewish sample, by religiosity; %)
We asked our Jewish respondents: “Compared to the period before the outbreak of the war, do you now feel closer to or further from religion?” Around a third said that they feel closer to religion now, just over half that they have experienced no change in this regard, and around a tenth that they feel further away from religion than they did before the war.
Compared to the period before the outbreak of the war, do you now feel closer to or further from religion? (Jewish sample; %)
A very interesting finding was that the highest shares of respondents who say that they feel closer to religion are among the more religious groups: Haredi, 59%; national religious, 58%; traditional religious, 56%; traditional non-religious, 37%; secular, 15.5%.