US presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) and Democratic US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In the past month, Israelis changed their minds about the leading candidates for the nomination for president of the United States, according to polling by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University published Monday.
When asked whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would be a better president for the US and for Israel, Clinton came out on top in both metrics. Clinton was viewed as the better candidate for US interests by 43 percent of Israeli Jews and the better candidate for Israel by 40% of them, while 24% saw Trump as better for the US and 30% said he is better for Israel. Among Israeli Arabs, a plurality said both were the same, and the second-most popular answer was that they don’t know.
The answers reversed last month’s IDI-TAU polling, which showed more Israelis Jews (34%) preferring a Republican president, while 28% preferred a Democrat.
The questions were asked as part of the Peace Index, a poll of Israeli adults published monthly by the Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research of the Israel Democracy Institute and the Evens Program for Mediation and Conflict Resolution at Tel Aviv University.
This month’s Peace Index also included questions about terrorism, indicating that 66% of Israeli Jews agree with a statement made by Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef that “It is a commandment to kill a terrorist who comes at you with a knife.” Most Israeli Jews at every religious level agreed: 52% of secular Jews, 72% nonreligious traditional, 68% of religious-traditional, 89.5% religious and 94% ultra-Orthodox.
A majority of Israelis (54%) said it was inappropriate for Yosef to express his opinion on security matters, while 41% disagreed.
The poll also asked: “If the current situation of violence continues, which of the two societies – Israeli or Palestinian – will, in your assessment, be able to withstand it longer?” Most Jewish Israelis responded that their society was more resilient (62%), as opposed to 5% who chose Palestinians, whereas a plurality (38%) of Israeli Arabs thought Palestinians are more resilient, 17% said Jews are and 21% said both to the same extent.
In May 2001, during the Second Intifada, a corresponding rate of Israeli Jews (62%) saw their society as more resilient, whereas the percentage of Israeli Arabs who thought Palestinians could withstand the violence longer has dropped since then, from 56%.
When asked whether one can ignore human and civil rights in order to fight terrorism, Israeli Jews were split almost evenly – 49% agreed, 46% did not – while 86% of Israeli Arabs disagreed.
As for whether Palestinian terrorism and terrorism around the world have the same motivations, most Israeli Jews (64%) said yes and less than a third (30%) disagreed, but 65% of Israeli Arabs think the two are separate phenomena, and only 13% agreed with the statement.
A clear majority of Jewish Israelis (69%) and nearly half (47%) of Israeli Arabs feel Europe is unable to fight terrorism, but 47% of Israeli Jews think that should not be said so publicly, for diplomatic reasons.
Over 63% of Israelis, Jewish and Arab, support cooperating with Turkey in the fight against terrorism.
At the same time, Israeli Jews are split on whether Israel can only rely on itself to fight terrorism effectively: 47% say Israel needs help of international actors, while 48.5% say it does not.
The poll was conducted on March 28-30 among 600 respondents, making up a representative sample of the Israeli adult population. The margin of error for the poll is 4.1%.