Latest Peace Index shows Jewish Israelis agree Europe lacks the ability to combat terror, but favor collaborating with Turkey to fight terrorism. Plus, Israeli Jews now see Democratic frontrunner Clinton as better for Israel than Republican Trump.
The majority (66.5 percent) of the Jewish public agree that "it is a commandment to kill a terrorist who comes at you with a knife," according to the latest Peace Index, published today by the Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research of the Israel Democracy Institute and the Evens Program for Mediation and Conflict Resolution at Tel Aviv University.
Respondents were asked if they agreed with the above statement, made in early March (and later qualified) by the Chief Sephardic Rabbi, Yitzhak Yosef. When segmented by level of religiosity: 94% of ultra-Orthodox, 89.5% of religious, 68% of religious-traditional, 72% of nonreligious traditional, and 52% of secular Jews said they agree with Rabbi Yosef.
This month's survey focused on questions of local and worldwide terror, including how to fight it and with whom to collaborate against it. It also asked more questions about Israelis' perspective on the US election.
Terror and Human Rights: The Jewish public is divided on the question of whether to fight terror effectively one can ignore human and civil rights. Forty-nine percent agree that it is permissible to do so and 46% do not agree. On this question, there were large disparities between the political camps. Among those who define themselves as right-wing, 61% thinks one can ignore human and civil rights under conditions of fighting terror. On the left, only a small minority (18%) agrees. Some 90% of Arab Israeli disagree that human and civil rights can be ignored while fighting terror.
Jewish vs. Palestinian Resilience: We asked: “If the current situation of violence continues, which of the two societies—Israeli or Palestinian—will in your assessment be able to withstand it longer?” The answers show that, in the Jewish public, the rate of those who see Israeli society as more resilient (62%) is vastly higher than the rate who view Palestinian society’s resilience as greater (5%).
When this question was asked in May 2001, at the height of the Second Intifada, the corresponding rates were Israeli society more resilient (62%), Palestinian society (12%), both to the same extent (12%) and neither of them (7%).
The Arab public sees it differently, seeing Palestinian society as more resilient (38%), Jewish society (17%), both to the same extent (21%) and neither of them (8%). This is in sharp contrast to the 2001 index, when 56% of Arab Israelis saw Palestinian society's resilience as greater than that of the Israelis.
Palestinian vs. Worldwide Terror: We asked: “After the latest terror attacks, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that worldwide terror and Palestinian terror are the same phenomenon and are fed by the same sources. Others claim that they are two different phenomena: worldwide terror is fed by radical Islam while Palestinian terror is fed by the desire to get free of the Israeli occupation. With which position do you agree more?” A clear majority of the Jewish public (64%) agrees with Netanyahu’s assertion that worldwide terror and Palestinian terror are fed by the same sources. Less than one-third (30%) agrees with the claim that these are two different phenomena. In contrast, among the Israeli Arab public, the majority opinion is the opposite: 65% thinks international terror and Palestinian terror are different phenomena.
Europe's (in)Ability to Fight Terror: The majority (69%) of the Jewish public and a large minority (47%) of the Arab public feels that European countries have an inability to fight terror effectively, though a large minority (47%) of the Jewish public feels that these sentiments should not be expressed publically for diplomatic reasons.
Turkish and Israeli Collaboration: A large majority (63%) of Jewish Israelis favors Israeli-Turkish cooperation in the fight on terror. The Arab public, too, shows great interest (62%) in security cooperation with Turkey.
At the same time, the Jewish public is divided on the question of whether to fight terror effectively Israel can or cannot rely only on itself: 48.5% think it can while 47% believe that it also needs the help of international actors.
We asked Israelis which candidate will be a better president for the US and which will be better for Israel. In the Jewish public, Hillary Clinton currently holds the lead—both as the candidate who, if elected, will serve U.S. interests better (43% compared to 24% who see Trump as preferable from a U.S. standpoint) and as the candidate who will be better for Israel (40% compared to 30% who think so about Trump). In the Arab public, most respondent did not have an opinion. Those who did respond, see Clinton and Trump as good to the same extent.
Last month, a higher percentage of the Jewish public (34%) thought a Republican president would be better for Israel, compared to 28% who thought so regarding a Democratic president.
This month's survey was conducted by telephone on March 28-30, 2016. The survey included 600 respondents, who constitute a representative national sample of the adult population aged 18 and over. The maximum measurement error for the entire sample is ±4.1% at a confidence level of 95%.