Survey: Majority of Israelis believe Breaking the Silence is a political organization

The survey was compiled by the Association of Civil Military studies in Israel polled 500 Hebrew speakers between the ages of 18-65.

January 27, 2016 19:52
1 minute read.
IDF West Bank

IDF soldier at West Bank checkpoint at Gush Etzion Junction.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

A slim majority, 53%, believe the NGO “Breaking the Silence” is driven by political interests not related to the behavior of the Israel Defense Forces in the Palestinian Territories, according to a survey published this week.

The survey found that among religious respondents, 75 percent agreed with the assessment that Breaking the Silence – which compiles testimony from IDF soldiers about alleged abuses they witnessed in their service – is at its essence a political organization.

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The online survey, which was compiled by the Association of Civil Military studies in Israel, and published on occasion of their conference at the Kinneret College on Wednesday, polled 500 Hebrew speakers between the ages of 18 and 65 on January 18.

The poll determined that just one in five respondents believe that the findings of Breaking the Silence indicate that IDF soldiers don’t believe they have a place in the IDF to turn to for filing complaints and only 9% said they believe that the findings of BTS indicate that the deployment of the IDF among the Palestinian civilian population has corrupted the army’s morality (mosar hamilhama).

In addition, just 25% of respondents said they believe the defense budget is too high, though the percentage was related to the education level of the people polled with 34% of those with above-average educations saying the budget should be cut, as opposed to 17% of respondents who have only a high school education.

In addition, 40% of female respondents said the budget should be increased, as opposed to 34% of all respondents.

When asked about the rising prominence of religious commanders in the army, 37% of respondents said the phenomenon is positive for the IDF and Israel’s security, while only 20% said it is potentially dangerous to the IDF and state.

The numbers were significantly different among secular respondents, 25% of whom said the phenomenon is positive, and a third of whom said it is negative.

The chairman of the Association of Civil Military studies, Col. (res.) Reuven Gal said the results show how central the army and defense issues are to Israelis, as opposed to other countries in the Western world where at least half of the respondents say they have no opinion when asked questions relating to security and military issues.

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