Polls show overwhelming support for Schalit deal

Between 70 and 80 percent of Israelis, 86% of women, support prisoner swap; surveys doubt Netanyahu's motives.

October 17, 2011 19:43
2 minute read.
Aviva Schalit after hearing news of prisoner deal

Aviva Schalit 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

A large majority of Israelis are in favor of the deal to trade kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit for 1,027 Palestinian terrorists, despite fears that it would lead to increased terrorism, two public opinion polls found.

A Dahaf Institute poll published in Yediot Aharonot on Monday found that 79 percent of Israelis back the deal and 14% oppose it. The majority is even larger among women, of whom 86% support the deal and just 5% are against it.

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A poll carried out for the Midgam project that was broadcast over the weekend on Channel 10 found that 69% backed the deal and 26% opposed it.

Questioning the motives of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the Dahaf poll found that 49% said he surrendered to public opinion and only 43% said he had displayed leadership.

In the Midgam poll, 35% said he had caved in to public opinion, another 35% thought he was trying to weaken Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and just 22% said he had acted exclusively “in Israel’s interest.”

When asked about the impact of the deal on Israel’s security, 50% of Dahaf respondents said they were worried and 48% said they were not worried because they trusted the IDF. In the Midgam poll, 62% said the deal would worsen Israel’s security situation and 32% thought it would have no impact.

The Dahaf poll found that 65% of Israelis thought the deal could have been closed with similar conditions in the past.

Asked which side sacrificed its principles the most, 53% said the Israeli government, 20% said Hamas, and another 20% said both.

The Midgam poll was taken Thursday and Friday among a representative sample of 500 Jewish and Arab Israelis and had a 4.5% margin of error. The Dahaf poll of a representative sample of 500 Israelis was taken Sunday and had a margin of error of 4.4%.

Interestingly, a Smith Research Institute that was sponsored by the Free Schalit campaign in late May found less support for the same deal. The poll found that 63% of respondents backed the agreement, 19% said they were opposed and 18% voiced no opinion.

Click for full JPost coverage of Gilad Schalit

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