Peace Index - Sept. 2015
As the security situation in Israel erupts and evolves, the monthly Peace Index poll reveals that the Jewish Israeli public expected these increased security challenges. Before the violence mounted, when asked how long in their opinion the present situation (no peace agreement) could continue without a third intifada erupting, the prevailing opinion (44.5%) said the situation could only continue for a short time – up to a year.
Since the time of the poll, there have been more than a dozen terrorist attacks in Israel.
This question was among other similar queries on Israeli-Palestinian relations and their future, the focus of this past month's poll, released by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University. The poll also looked at Russia's growing involvement in Syria.
Israel-Palestinian Relations & the Security Situation
- Third Intifada: In addition to the abovementioned 44.5%, about one-fifth of Jewish Israelis (20.3%) felt the status quo could continue for two or three years, and a minority (26%) thought Israel had three years or more before violence/a third intifada erupted. Interestingly, the Arab public's views on this question were the opposite; 48% said that even if there was no peace agreement, the status quo could continue for a long time.
- Government management of the security situation: When asked at the outset of the escalation of violence how the public would grade the government for its handling of the security situation in Jerusalem (on a scale of 0 to 5, with 0 being failure and 5 being excellent), the majority of Jewish Israelis (76.3%) rated the government's management at three or lower. The weighted average of the responses was 2.26.
- Co-existence: 87% of the Jewish public sees a small chance that "sometime in the future Jews and Arabs will be able to live in a single state as citizens with equal rights who recognize each other's rights." Here, the Arab public's assessments are similar to those of the Jewish public's – 68% regard the chances of egalitarian co-existence as small.
Russian Involvement in Syria
The poll also asked questions regarding international relations specific to Russian involvement in Syria and its implications for Israel. The Jewish public tends to take a positive view of Russia's intervention in Syria and Russian President Vladimir Putin's declaration that Russia will help Syrian President Bashar Assad remain in power. About half (49%) of respondents see leaving Assad in power as desirable from Israel's standpoint.
- Obama vs. Putin: When asked who is a more impressive leader, U.S. President Barack Obama or Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the eyes of about half of the Jewish public (50.5%), the president of Russia is a more impressive leader than Obama. Relatedly, about half of the Jewish public (47%) thinks that in recent decades Israel has been too close and dependent on the U.S. and should make an effort to draw closer to Russia.
- U.S. vs. Russia: 78% of Jewish Israelis, however, believe that the United States is a more desirable – "loyal and trustworthy" -- ally for Israel than Russia. Moreover, the majority of Jewish Israelis (50%) believes that by drawing close to Russia, Israel would harm U.S.-Israel relations.
The full results of the Peace Index are available on the Peace Index website.