Despite Iran deal, most Israelis say Obama committed to their security

New data courtesy of the monthly Peace Index poll of the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University.

September 9, 2015 11:57
2 minute read.
President Barack Obama jokes with Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office

President Barack Obama jokes with Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office. (photo credit: OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO / PETE SOUZA)


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Two-thirds of Israelis still believe US President Barack Obama’s administration is committed to Israel’s security, despite his Iran deal. However, 72.7 percent of Israeli Jews see the deal as an existential threat to the Jewish state, according to the monthly Peace Index poll of the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, which was released on Wednesday.

Asked to what extent they are sure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is right when he describes the accord as an existential threat to Israel, 42.5% of Jewish respondents said they are sure he is right, 30.2% said they are moderately sure he is right, 18.3% said they were moderately sure he is not right, 5.8% said they were not at all sure he is right, and 3.2% said they did not know or declined to answer.

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A very large majority of Israeli Jews – 78.4% – said they do not believe Iran would uphold the deal, compared to 15.3% who said they think Iran will uphold the deal and only 1.5% who said they were sure the Islamic Republic would abide by the agreement. The rest said they did not know or declined to answer.

Nevertheless, 27.9% of Israeli Jews said Obama’s administration is very committed to Israel’s security and 38% said it is moderately committed. Only 6% said the US administration was not committed at all to Israel’s security and 26.3% said it was moderately committed. The percentage who said they did know or declined to answer was 1.8%.

A large majority of the Israeli public was proved correct when the struggle Netanyahu waged in Congress against the nuclear deal with Iran failed. Some 64% said they believed his efforts had a small or no chance of succeeding. Only 28% said they thought the prime minister had more than a small chance of success.

When asked about the impact of Netanyahu’s efforts on US-Israel relations, 48% of Israeli Jews said they thought Netanyahu’s campaign would damage relations, while 37% did not think it would affect them one way or another.

Only 8% believed it would positively impact relations.

Regarding the impact of the prime minister’s behavior on Israel’s relations with American Jews, 43.4% of Israeli Jews said it would neither damage relations nor contribute to them. The percentage who believe Netanyahu harmed ties with US Jews was 29.3% and that helped such relations was 17.1%.

Israeli Jews were split on Netanyahu’s policy of refraining from speaking to the US about military compensation for the deal before the effort to fight the deal had been exhausted. Thirty-seven percent said the policy was mistaken and 46.5% said it was correct. The rest said they did not know or declined to answer.

The poll also asked the Israeli public how in retrospect it views the decision to launch Operation Protective Edge a year ago. Eighty percent of Israeli Jews agreed that Israel’s decision to launch the war was right. In contrast, Israeli Arabs (69%) believe the decision was not right.

The Jewish public is divided on the results of the summer operation. Some 50% define the result as “moderately good” or “very good,” 47% as “not good at all” or “not so good.” About three-quarters of Israeli Arabs (73.5%) view the operation’s results as not good.

The poll of 600 respondents representing a sample of the Israeli population has a margin of error of ±4.1 percentage points.

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