Despite endless groaning and criticism, Israeli Jews have solid confidence in the country's ability to deal with almost any challenge, from a nuclear Iran to a scale back of US support, according to a survey carried out by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
INSS fellow Yehuda Ben Meir, who carried out the survey, presented the findings of face-to-face interviews from the end of February to early April with 632 Israeli Jews at the institute's annual conference Wednesday in Tel Aviv.
Asked whether Israel can or cannot successfully deal with a list of challenges, 60% of the respondents said it could cope successfully with a war with all the Arab countries, while 31% said it could not.
Only a quarter of the respondents said Israel could not deal with a chemical or biological missile attack, while 75% said it could. Regarding Iran, 62.5% of the country's Jews believe it could successfully deal with an Iran with nuclear capability, while 37.5% said it could not successfully do so.
Of a list of 10 issues, the most difficult one that the survey showed Israeli Jews believed Israel could deal with would be if the US would reduce its support. But even in that event, some 62% of Israeli Jews believe the country could successfully cope, while 38% said it could not.
Regarding the diplomatic process, 52% said – in answer to a general question – that they would vote in a referendum for a two state solution with the Palestinians, while 27% opposed, and 22% were undecided.
When the details of the two-state deal were clarified a bit more, and included a Palestinian state on 93% of the West bank and all of Gaza, including the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem; Israel in control of the settlement blocks including Jewish neighborhoods in post-1967 Jerusalem including the Old City; "Divine Sovereignty" over the Temple Mount; a Palestinian declaration of an "end of conflict" and the return of refugees only to a Palestinian state; and an Israeli military presence on the Jordan River; support for the plan dropped to 46%, with 34% opposed and 20% undecided.
On Iran, when the respondents were asked how they thought Israel should act against the danger of Iran developing nuclear weapons, 52% said all diplomatic means should be used to stop them, but Israel should refrain from a military attack, while 48% said Israel should attack the country's nuclear installations.
And regarding the changing situation in Egypt, 29% said Egypt would either cancel the peace treaty with Israel, be dragged into a war with Israel, or initiate one itself. Some 30% said the relationship between the countries would stay pretty much what it is now, while 42% said Cairo will likely keep the peace treaty but empty it of content.