Only four-tenths of a percent of Israeli Jews think Israel should accept Hamas’s demands in order to stop rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, the monthly Peace Index poll sponsored by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University revealed on Tuesday.
The poll of 600 respondents who constitute a representative sample of the adult population of Israel was taken last Monday and Tuesday and has a margin of error of 4.1%. It found that 58% of Israeli Jews think Israel does not have to meet any Hamas demands and should continue to fight until Hamas surrenders, and 41% think Israel should respond positively to Hamas’s demands that are reasonable in terms of national security.
Prof. Tamar Hermann of the Israel Democracy Institute, who took the poll, said that such numbers could change if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu explains to the public why an agreement with Hamas would be good for Israel’s security.
“With leadership the 41% and 58% can be interchanged,” she said. “Our polls have found that Israelis trust Netanyahu when it comes to their security.”
Among Israeli Arabs, 54% think Hamas’s demands that are consistent with Israeli national security should be accepted, 32% think Israel should accept Hamas’s demands in order to stop the rockets, and only 5% percent said Israel should not accept Hamas demands and fight until their surrender.
Asked whether to deal with Hamas militarily or diplomatically, 66% of the Jewish public said through a combination of military and political-diplomatic efforts, 26% said exclusively through military means and 7% said exclusively through political-diplomatic means.
Among Israeli Arabs, 72% said Hamas should be dealt with through political-diplomatic efforts, 15% said through a combination of military and political-diplomatic means, and 3% through exclusively military means.
The poll found that an overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews are pessimistic that the goal set at the beginning of Operation Protective Edge of restoring quiet will be achieved. Seventy-one percent of Israeli Jews said they think chances are low that the operation would lead to three years or more of complete quiet from Gaza.
Only 25% of Israeli Jews think chances for complete quiet of at least three years are high.
When asked whether they are satisfied with the results of the operation, 32% of the Jewish public said yes, 41% were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, and 27% were dissatisfied. Among Israeli Arabs, only 8% were satisfied with the results of the operation, 64% of the Arab public was dissatisfied, and 18% were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.
Nearly all Israeli Jews – 97% – rated the IDF’s performance as very good or moderately good, while only 16% of Israeli Arabs agreed.
Close to two-thirds of Arab respondents – 64% – deemed the IDF’s performance not so good or poor.
As for the Israeli politicians, 61% of Jewish Israelis rated their performance as very or moderately good, while 35% rated it as not so good or poor. Asked if they agreed with cabinet members who criticized Netanyahu for running the operation too hesitantly or moderately, 42% said yes and 54% said no.
When asked about Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, 60% of the Jewish public said they trust him to act as a fair mediator between Israel and Hamas, while 38% said they do not trust him.
The Peace Index has been asking Israelis for years where they place themselves on the political spectrum for foreign policy and security issues.
The trend has been that more Israelis have declared themselves right-wing and fewer left-wing. In the current poll, 34% self-identified as part of the Right, 28% as moderate Right, 22% as centrist, 9% as moderate Left, and only 3% as Left.
People who identified themselves as right-wing were more likely to agree with the statement that the world is against Israel. The percentage of Israeli Jews who agreed with the statement was 63%, but it was 69% among right-wingers and 31% among self-proclaimed leftists.
Despite their pessimism about the operation in the Gaza Strip restoring quiet, Israelis were still very positive about their country’s future in general, with 65% of the Jewish public calling themselves optimistic about the future of Israel for the coming years and 33% pessimistic.
The Right was the most optimistic at 71%, and the Left the least hopeful, with 54%.