Israelis want to reduce dependency on US, poll finds

Amid tensions between Jerusalem and Washington over Iran deal, 49% of Israeli Jews believe Israel should seek new allies.

December 2, 2013 22:02
3 minute read.
PM Netanyahu and US President Obama at a joint press conference in Jerusalem, March 20, 2013.

Netanyahu looks serious while Obama speaks 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed)


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Israel must find other allies and reduce its dependence on the United States in the international arena, nearly half of Israeli Jews said in the monthly Peace Index poll published Monday by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) and Tel Aviv University.

The poll was taken last Tuesday and Wednesday amid heightened tension between Jerusalem and Washington over the deal the US and five other Western powers signed with Iran in Geneva on the Islamic regime’s nuclear program.

The survey assessed Israeli opinion on Israel’s relationship with the US and other potential allies.

When asked whether Israel should seek new allies, 49 percent of Israeli Jews said yes, 45% said no and the remainder had no opinion.

Asked whether Israel would succeed in finding new allies, 70% of Jewish Israelis believe Israel will not find any. Of those polled, 71% believe the US is Israel’s most loyal and important ally, while 26% believe it is not.

Self-described left-wing Israeli Jews were more likely to call America Israel’s closest ally than those on the Right.

With regard to Israeli dependence on military, political and economic assistance, the majority of Israeli Jews (55%) believe Israel is moderately dependent on US assistance, while a minority believe their country is either totally dependent (24%) on American assistance or only marginally or not dependent at all (17%).

As in other surveys, the poll found Israelis very pessimistic about the potential success of the interim deal reached in Geneva on Iran’s nuclear program. Only 18% of respondents said they believe the agreement will lead to the end of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, while 77% think the deal will fail.

Asked how the agreement would affect the ongoing negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel, 39% of Jewish Israelis said it will have no effect, 26% think Israel will take a tougher position and 22% said Israel will be more conciliatory.

Regarding the deal’s impact on the Palestinian Authority’s position, 40% of Jewish Israelis believe the PA will take a tougher stance, 34% believe the agreement will have no effect and 12% believe they will be more conciliatory.

According to the poll, 38% of Israeli Jews believe the agreement will have no effect on the position of the US government, 30% believe the US will be tougher on Israel to compensate the Sunni Arab world, and 20% believe the US will be more inclined toward Israel to compensate for the deal.

Two thirds of Jewish Israelis and 61% of Arab Israelis believe the current Israeli government truly wants to reach a permanent peace settlement with the Palestinians based on mutual compromises. Only 28% of Jewish Israelis and 35% of Arab Israelis believe the government does not desire such a settlement.

When asked about the Palestinian Authority’s desire for peace, 73% of Jewish respondents said they do not believe the PA wants to reach a permanent peace settlement with Israel based on mutual compromises, while 23% believe it does. By contrast, 77% of Arab respondents think the PA wants to reach a settlement, and 19% believe it does not.

Following the November 21 election of Isaac Herzog as head of the Labor Party, 45% of Jewish Israelis said they would like Labor to join Netanyahu’s government, while 34% think it should not.

Among Israeli Arabs and Jewish Israelis who describe themselves as Left wing, 46% think Labor should not join while 41% think it should.

This survey included 601 respondents constituting a representative sample of the adult population of Israel. The margin of error for a sample of this size is 4.5

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