Congratulations to the price-tag vandals and the more extreme settler rabbis: in their zeal to protect the settlements, they have undermined the very cause they claim to support.A new poll by Ariel University, which examined how Israeli Jews inside the Green Line view the settlements, found that support for them has dropped significantly since last year’s poll, by almost every measure. The proportion of respondents that supported dismantling most or all settlements under an agreement with the Palestinians rose to 33 percent, from 22% in 2012 and 13% in 2011. The proportion that deemed settlements a waste of public funds rose from 24% last year to 39% this year. The proportion that deemed them an obstacle to peace rose from 22% to 31%. The proportion that considered them “true Zionism” fell from 64% to 52%. And the proportion that viewed them as Israel’s “safety belt” fell from 57% to 46%. But the punch line was people’s response when asked what kept them from identifying with the settlers. The number-one factor was the “hilltop youth” – a term that to most Israelis is shorthand for extremists who engage in violence against Palestinians and/or Israeli soldiers (though in reality, of course, not all “hilltop youth” are extremists and not all extremists are “hilltop youth”). It was cited by 53%, up from 42% in 2012. The extremist views of settler rabbis, especially toward women, followed close behind, cited by 50% (up from 37% last year).