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Thursday, March 8, 2012
The Peace Index: Israeli Jews: 58%:32% Israeli society could bear loss of thousands to successfully strike Iranian nuclear facilities

If the number of Israeli casualties is in the thousands, and assuming that
the objective of a successful strike on Iranís nuclear facilities is
achieved, in your opinion, would Israel's national resilience be able to
withstand this or not?Ē A majority of the Jewish public (58% as opposed to
32%) thinks Israeli society has enough national resilience to be able to
withstand such a price. In the Arab public, the rate of respondents
confident in Israelís national resilience is even higher at 68%.

The Peace Index: February 2012
Date Published: 08/03/2012
Survey dates: 28/02/2012 - 29/02/2012
The Peace Index is a project of the Evens Program for Conflict Resolution
at Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute
www.peaceindex.org Email: info@peaceindex.org

1. What is your position on holding peace negotiations between Israel and
the Palestinian Authority?
General Public Jews Arabs
1. Strongly in favor 34.7 30.6 57.8
2. Moderately in favor 32.4 36.0 12.2
3. Moderately opposed 17.2 17.1 17.8
4. Strongly opposed 11.5 11.4 12.2
5. I don't know\ refuse to answer 4.2 4.9

2. Do you believe or not believe that negotiations between Israel and the
Palestinian Authority will lead to peace between Israel and the Palestinians
in the coming years?
General Public Jews Arabs
1. Strongly believe 7.0 4.7 20.0
2. Moderately believe 20.6 22.2 11.1
3. Moderately donít believe 34.7 36.9 22.2
4. Donít believe at all 36.6 34.9 46.7
5. I don't know\ refuse to answer 1.2 1.3

Summary of the Findings

What are Iranís intentions? The Jewish public is divided on whether Iran
will attack Israel if it produces nuclear weapons: about half (51%) see high
chances of it, while a considerable minority (42%) views the chances as low
(the rest have no opinion). The same is true for the Arab public: 50% think
Iran would attack, 47% hold the opposite view.

How much do sanctions help? Seventy-seven percent of the Jews think the
sanctions the Western states are imposing on Iran will not help prevent its
nuclearization. In the Arab public a majority, though smaller (59%), thinks
the same.

Should Israel attack Iran by itself? A clear majority of the Jewish public
(62%) opposes an Israeli attack on Iran if carried out without U.S.
cooperation. In parallel, only 35% see high chances that Israel would
initiate an attack without America taking part. The same holds true for the
Arab public: the rate of opponents of an attack without U.S. cooperation
reaches 66%, while 30% believe that there is a high possibility that such an
attack could be initiated.

Would an attack by Israel without U.S. cooperation achieve its objective?
More than half of the Jewish public (53%) thinks such an attack would not
succeed, while 39% think it would. The picture for the Arab public is the
opposite: 52% believe such an attack would succeed, while 46% say it would
not.

What would be the price? Some 60.5% of the Jews reject Defense Minister
Barakís assessment that in case of an Israeli attack on Iran, Iranís
retaliatory strikes would only claim about five hundred casualties if
Israeli citizens were to follow instructions and stay in their homes, and
believes that the number of casualties would be higher. In the Arab public,
54% say the same.

Could Israeli society withstand this scenario? We asked: if the objective is
achieved, will Israeli society be able to withstand a high number of
casualties? A majority of the Jewish public (58% as opposed to32%) thinks
Israeli society has enough resilience to pay such a price. The rate
affirming this in the Arab public is even higher at 68%.

And what about an attack with U.S. cooperation? Here a fundamentally
different picture emerges. In the Jewish public, a clear majority (65%)
supports an attack in tandem with the U.S. and an even larger majority (72%)
thinks such an attack would have high chances of halting Iranís
nuclearization for a substantial amount of time. While a small majority
(57%) of the Arab public also thinks an attack with U.S. cooperation would
be effective, the rate of support for such an attack is clearly lower than
in the Jewish publicó47%, compared to 51% who oppose it.

Is it appropriate for President Peres to take a public stand on this issue?
The Jewish public is divided on whether it is appropriate for President
Peres, in his meeting with Obama, to express a (negative) position on the
issue of an attack. In the Arab public, however, 71% see it as appropriate
for him to do so.

And what outcome of the struggle in Syria would be in the Israeli national
interest? The Jewish public does not have a clear opinion. Some 35.5% think
it would be good for Israel if the Assad regime collapsed, 27% think this
would be bad for Israel, and 26% say it does not matter one way or the
other. The Arab public is divided: 50% believe the regimeís fall would be
bad for Israel, while 41% believe it would benefit Israel.

Should aid be given, and to whom? The Jewish publicís uncertainty about
which outcome of the struggle in Syria would be in Israelís interest
apparently explains why an overwhelming majority (84%) think Israel should
stay on the sidelines without helping either side. In the Arab public, about
half (49%) agree with that approach, while the rest are divided: 26% support
helping Assad and 23% support assisting the opposition.

The Findings in Detail

Lately the issue of Iranís nuclear program and Israelís response has been at
the center of the public discourse. First, we sought to find out how the
Israeli public sizes up Iranís intentions. It turns out that the Jewish
public as a whole is divided on the question of whether Iran will attack
Israel if it has nuclear weapons: about half (51%) see the chances of this
as high, but a considerable minority (42%) views them as low (the rest of
the respondents have no opinion). A segmentation of the respondents by
self-definition on the right-left spectrum reveals very large gaps: on the
right and the moderate right, a majority thinks Iran will attack Israel (60%
and 63% respectively); the center is split (46% say Iran will attack and 44%
say that it wonít); while on the left and the moderate left, the majority
does not believe Iran will attack (69% and 60% respectively). Also
interesting is the segmentation by religiosity: whereas among
ultra-Orthodox, religious, traditional-religious, and traditional-secular
respondents, a majority thinks Iran will attack (58.5%, 60%, 69%, and 57%
respectively), only a minority of the secular believes this will happen
(40%).

The Arab public as a whole is similarly divided: 50% think Iran will attack
while 47% hold the opposite view.

We asked whether the Iranian threat can be dealt with through sanctions.
Assessments are negative, at least regarding the current sanctions of
Western countries on Iran: 77% of the Jews say these sanctions will not
succeed in stopping Iranís nuclearization. A majority of the Arab public,
though smaller (59%), takes the same stance. On this issue, unlike the
previous one, we did not find dramatic differences between the political
camps or between respondents with different levels of religiosity.

What, then, is the upshot? Should Israel take the initiative and attack
Iran? In fact, the public makes a sharp distinction between attacking with
U.S. cooperation and attacking without U.S. cooperation. A clear-cut
majority of the entire Jewish public (62%) opposes an Israeli strike on Iran
if carried out without U.S. cooperation. At the same time, unlike the
left-wing, centrist, and even moderate-right groups, in which a majority
opposes an attack without U.S. cooperation, a majority (53%) of the group
that defines itself as right-wing (about one-quarter of the respondents)
supports an attack even under those conditions. As for the Arab public, the
rate of those opposing an attack without U.S. cooperation is 66%.

It should be noted that in the Jewish public in general, only 35% see high
chances that Israel will initiate a strike on Iran without American
cooperation, and the assessment of the Arab public is very similar: only 30%
think it's likely that there will be an attack without American cooperation.
While a segmentation of the Jewish public by political camp and religiosity
revealed disparities in rates, in all the camps, only a minority would
expect Israel to attack without the U.S. taking part.

Presumably, the view that Israel will not attack alone is linked to the
widespread belief that such an attack would probably fail to achieve its
objective. We asked: ďIn your assessment, what are the chances that such an
attack, conducted without U.S. cooperation, would succeed in stopping Iranís
nuclearization for a substantial period of time?Ē More than half of the
Jewish public (53%) does not think such an attack would succeed, while 39%
think it would. The opposite picture emerges in the Arab public: 52% say an
attack without American cooperation would succeed, while 46% say that it
would not.

Segmenting the Jewish public by self-definition on the right-left spectrum
reveals that here, too, the only exception is the group defining themselves
as right-wing, in which a majority (52.5%) thinks an attack by Israel alone
would succeed in setting back Iranís nuclearization significantly. In the
other groups Ė the moderate right, center, moderate left, and left Ė only a
minority holds this view (42%, 35%, 29%, and 14% respectively).

And what about an attack with U.S. cooperation? Here a fundamentally
different picture emerges. In the Jewish public, a clear majority of 65%
supports an attack in tandem with the United States. The support is
considerably higher among the religious (88%) and traditional-religious
(78.5%) groups. After those, in descending order, come ultra-Orthodox (66%),
traditional-secular (64%), and secular (55%) respondents.

Segmenting respondents by political camp, however, reveals majorities
favoring an attack with U.S. cooperation only among respondents who place
themselves on the right and the moderate right (79.5% in both cases) and in
the center (54%). Among those defining themselves as moderate left and left,
only a minority would support an attack without U.S. cooperation (46% and
34% respectively).

A large majority of the Jewish public (72%) views an attack with U.S.
cooperation as having high chances of stopping Iranís nuclearization for a
substantial period of time. In the Arab public, there is a small majority
who think an attack with U.S. cooperation would work (57%), but the rate of
support for such a strike is clearly lower than in the Jewish public Ė 47%
vs. 51% who oppose such action.

Everyone realizes that an attack on Iran would result in Israeli losses.
Some 60.5% of the Jews reject Defense Minister Barakís assessment that if
Israel were to attack Iran, Iranís retaliatory strikes would claim only
about 500 casualties if Israeli citizens were to follow instructions and
stay in their homes, and believes that the number of casualties would be
higher. In the Arab public, 54% say the same. A segmentation of the Jewish
public by political camps and religiosity reveals that all groups reject
Barakís view and consider it an underestimation; this rejection, however, is
especially pronounced in the center and on the left, and among the two
traditional groups and the secular.

In this context, the assessment of national resilience is particularly
interesting. We asked: ďIf the number of Israeli casualties is in the
thousands, and assuming that the objective of a successful strike on Iranís
nuclear facilities is achieved, in your opinion, would Israel's national
resilience be able to withstand this or not?Ē A majority of the Jewish
public (58% as opposed to 32%) thinks Israeli society has enough national
resilience to be able to withstand such a price. In the Arab public, the
rate of respondents confident in Israelís national resilience is even higher
at 68%.

Segmenting the Jewish public by religiosity revealed that the most skeptical
respondents are the ultra-Orthodox, only 44% of whom think Israel could pay
such a price without damage to its national resilience. After them, in
ascending order, come the secular, of whom 57.5% think that Israeli
resilience could withstand such an outcome, while among the two traditional
groups and religious respondents, about two-thirds believe that Israelís
national resilience could withstand thousands of casualties.

Even before President Peresís visit to the United States, in light of media
reports about his intentions to express a negative opinion regarding an
Israeli attack on Iran, we checked the publicís view on whether it would be
appropriate for him to take a public stand on this issue. The Jewish public
is divided on whether it is appropriate for President Peres to express a
(negative) position on the issue of an attack when meeting with President
Obama. In the Arab public, however, 71% see it as appropriate for him to do
so. A segmentation by political camps showed, not surprisingly, that
opposition is especially strong on the right and the moderate right (73% in
both cases), the center is divided, and a majority of the left and the
moderate left, although not huge (57.5% and 52% respectively), sees such a
public statement by President Peres as appropriate.

And what does the Israeli public think is in Israel's national interest
regarding the outcomes of the struggle raging in Syria? The Jewish public
does not have a clear stance. Some 35.5% think a collapse of Assad's regime
would be good for Israel, 27% think it would be bad for Israel, and 26% say
it does not matter one way or the other. The Arab public is divided: 50%
believe the regimeís fall would be bad for Israel, while 41% believe it
would benefit Israel. A segmentation by political camps did not yield
systematic results.

Should aid be given to either side of the conflict in Syria, and if so, to
whom? The Jewish publicís uncertainty about which outcome of the struggle in
Syria would be in Israelís interest apparently explains why an overwhelming
majority (84%) think Israel should quietly stay at the sidelines, without
helping either side. About half (49%) of the Arab public agrees with that
approach, while the rest are divided: 26% support aiding Assad and 23%
support assisting the opposition. Note, though, that among Jews defining
themselves as left and center, about one-quarter support helping the
opposition, while about one-third of Jews who position themselves on the
right think Israel should help Assadís forces.

And what about the Western countries? In the Jewish public as a whole, a
majority of 50% thinks the Western countries should aid the opposition
forces, one-third say the West should stay out of the conflict, and only 4%
favor the West assisting Assadís forces. In the Arab public, a large
minority (43%) thinks the Western countries should keep to the sidelines,
while the majority (a total of 50%) is divided between 23% who think the
West should assist Assadís forces and 27% who say the West should bolster
the opposition.

Should Israel give shelter to refugees from Syria? We asked: ďThe media
recently reported that Israel is preparing infrastructure on the Golan
Heights to absorb Syrian refugees should the situation require it. In your
opinion, should or should not Israel accept Syrian refugees if their lives
are in real danger?Ē A small majority (54%) thinks Israel should not open
its gates to Syrian refugees. In the Arab public, a not-large majority (58%)
similarly opposes giving such people a haven. A segmentation of the Jewish
public by political camps reveals large gaps. On the right and the moderate
right, only a minority would help the refugees (30% and 33% respectively),
the center is split (49% in favor, 48% against), while on the moderate left
and the left a majority favors coming to the aid of Syrian refugees (67% and
74% respectively).

The Negotiations Index for February, 2012
The Peace Index project includes ongoing monitoring of the Israeli public's
attitudes towards peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian
Authority. The monthly Negotiation Index is comprised of two questions, one
focusing on public support for peace negotiations and the other on the
degree to which the public believes that such talks will actually lead to
peace. The aggregated replies to these two questions are calculated,
combined, and standardized on a scale of 0-100, in which 0 represents total
lack of support for negotiations and lack of belief in their potential to
bear fruit, and 100 represents total support for the process and belief in
its potential. Each month, the Negotiations Index presents two distinct
findings, one for the general Israeli population and the other for Jewish
Israelis.

Negotiations Index: General sample 48.6; Jewish sample: 44.4

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Peace Index is a project of the Evens Program in Mediation and Conflict
Resolution at Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute. This
month's survey was conducted by telephone on February 28-29 by the Dahaf
Institute. The survey included 600 respondents, who constitute a
representative sample of the adult Jewish population of Israel. The
measurement error for a sample of this size is 4.5%; statistical processing
was done by Ms. Yasmin Alkalay.

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