Poll: Most Israelis think US is spying on them

65% of Israelis, 22% of Arab Israelis support spying on friendly countries, while 73% of Jewish Israelis believe Israel already does so.

November 4, 2013 13:27
1 minute read.
National Intelligence chief James Clapper and protesters at a Congressional hearing, Oct. 29, 2013.

US spying protest 370. (photo credit: Reuters)


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An overwhelming majority of Israelis believe the US spies on citizens of the Jewish state, according to the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University’s monthly Peace Index poll released on Monday.

When asked if the US listens to Israeli leaders’ and nationals’ conversations, 90 percent of Jewish respondents and 62% of Arabs said yes.

At the same time, 65% of Jewish Israelis and 22% of Arab Israelis support spying on friendly countries, while 73% of Israeli Jews believe Israel already does so.

The poll results come after The New York Times reported on Sunday that classified files made public by fugitive former US National Security Agency agent Edward Snowden showed that the NSA tracked Israeli military targets and shared material with the IDF Intelligence Unit 8200.

This month’s Peace Index examined public opinion on national security, the socioeconomic situation and the role of the IDF, finding that most Israeli Arabs support allowing national service instead of military service.

In fact, more Israeli Arabs (69%) than Jewish Israelis (57%) think national service should be allowed in lieu of military service and 68% of Israelis – 67% of Israeli Jews and 73% of Israeli Arabs – support granting the same rights to those who complete national service as those who served in the IDF.

Among Jewish Israelis two-thirds believe that there is a high security risk to Israel, while about half as many Israeli Arabs agreed with the statement.

When asked if the IDF is able to deal with security threats, 86% of Israelis said yes.

Most Israelis (57%), both Jewish and Arab, believe that socioeconomic challenges are more threatening to Israel’s future than military ones.

Almost half (49%) of Jewish Israelis identifying themselves as right-wing agreed with the statement, while 62% of left-wing Jewish Israelis did.

The IDF maintained its image as the “people’s army,” with 70% of Jewish Israelis agreeing with it. The index showed that three-fourths (76%) of Jewish Israelis believe that the IDF should continue depending on compulsory service, as opposed to canceling the draft and moving to a professional army, which is supported by only 21% of Israeli Jews.

The poll was conducted on October 28-29 and surveyed 600 respondents who constitute a representative sample of Israel’s adult population.

The margin of error for the sample is 4.5 percentage points.

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