Two-thirds of Jewish Israelis believe US president Barack Obama will fail to
keep his promise to prevent Iran’s development of nuclear weapons, while only 27
percent believe he will succeed.
This according to the monthly Peace
Index poll taken by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University,
which was released on Thursday.
The survey of 601 respondents
constituting a representative sample of the adult population of Israel was
conducted last Monday and Tuesday, the days that Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu met with Obama in Washington and delivered his address to the United
Nations General Assembly. The headlines in the days ahead of the poll were about
the Iranian charm offensive at the UN and the phone conversation between Obama
and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Asked whether the US was projecting
weakness on Iran, affirmative answers were given by 60% of Israelis, including
64% of Jewish respondents and 40% of Arab respondents. Only 22% of Israelis said
the US was projecting power, including 20% of the Jewish respondents and 31% of
the Arab respondents.
When asked the same question about Syria, the
results were similar.
Sixty-three percent of Israelis said the US was
Among Jews, 66% answered affirmatively and 49% of
Arab respondents said yes. Twenty-three percent said the US was projecting power
on the issue, including 22% of Jewish respondents and 28% of the Arabs
Israeli Jews and Arabs differed starkly in their opinion on
whether Iran was really changing its position.
Eighty percent of Israeli
Jews said they believed that Rouhani’s UN speech
calling for an agreement with
the West was merely a change in rhetoric and not in Iran’s goals.
14% of Israeli Jews said they believed that it does constitute a real change.
Among Israeli Arabs, 47% said a real change was under way, while 42% believe
that only the rhetoric has changed.
Seventy-seven percent of Jewish
Israelis said Netanyahu was right to continue warning the world of the danger
Iran poses, while 14% said he should leave that job to American and European
On the Palestinian issue, 61% of Jewish respondents and 88% of
Arab respondents are in favor of peace negotiations between Israel and the
Palestinian Authority, while 34% of the Jewish respondents and 8% of the Arab
respondents are against the talks.
When asked about the chances of the
current talks leading to an agreement, 81% of the Jewish respondents and 64% of
the Arabs believe the chances are low that they will lead to a significant
agreement, while 14% of the Jewish public and 20% of the Arab public believe the
chances are high.
Sixty percent of Jewish Israelis believe the assertion
made by the Israeli defense establishment that the two recent murders of
soldiers by Palestinians were crimes by individuals rather than the start of a
third intifada, while 33% do not.
Among Arab Israelis, 42% accept the
defense establishment’s explanation, while 48% do not.
error for a sample of this size is 4.5 percentage points.