Israelis are evenly split on whether or not the government should attack Iran's nuclear facilities, a poll by the Netanya Academic College released Monday shows.
Fifty-two percent of those polled oppose a strike on the Islamic Republic, saying that Israel must pursue all possible diplomatic routes, while 48% were in favor of attacking.
Eighteen percent believed Iran would try to annihilate Israel with a nuclear weapon, while 62.5% said Israel would be able to contend with an Iranian nuclear capability.
A third, and supposedly final round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 Western powers is scheduled to take place in Moscow on June 18 and 19.
The poll showed that 32% of Israelis believed that if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, it will use it to threaten Israel, but will not use it due to fear of an Israeli retaliation. Another 24% said that Iran will take advatage of a nuclear weapon to exert pressure on Israel and other coutnries. Fifteen percent worried that Iran would encourage Hamas or Hizbollah to escalate violence with Israel.
Only 6% thought Iran would behave pragmatically.
On Sunday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei warned against an Israeli strike, saying, “If they take any miscalculated action, they will receive a thunderous blow.”
US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton dismissed the comments as fodder for the Iranian domestic audience. "We want to see a diplomatic resolution. We now have an opportunity to achieve it, and we hope it is an opportunity that's not lost, for everyone's sake," she told reporters in Stockholm, according to AFP.
How Israel should respond to Iranian bellicosity and its ever-advancing nuclear program has been hotly debated, with current and former high-level officials publicly sparring over the correct course of action.
Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan told the Institute for National Security Studies' annual conference last week that Israeli military action would be counter-productive. "An attack will only create a reality where all Iranians will stand behind the regime," he said.
Former Military Intelligence head Amos Yadlin, on the other hand, defended the hard line taken by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak as the result of “very serious," calculated discussions.