Poll: Israelis say J'lem an internal affair

Poll shows public favors unified capital, opposes Diaspora involvement in deciding J'lem's future.

old city 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerezolimski [file])
old city 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerezolimski [file])
A significant majority of Israelis oppose a withdrawal to the 1967 borders, feel that Jerusalem should remain the united capital of the Jewish state and oppose the involvement of Diaspora Jewry in deciding the future of the city, according to a new poll conducted by B'nai Brith on the eve of US President George W. Bush's visit to Israel. The pole found that only 26 percent of Israelis support a withdrawal to the 1967 borders, while 66% oppose such a move. 29% favored a divided Jerusalem as the capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state, while 68 percent declared their support for a united Jerusalem under Israeli rule. "The strongest support for an undivided Jerusalem was expressed by ultra-orthodox and religious Israelis," read a statement released by B'nai Brith. There was also a solid consensus that Jerusalem should be an internal Israeli issue rather than a matter open to the influence of Diaspora Jewry. 56% said the future of the capital should be deliberated exclusively by Israeli Jews. "The findings clearly demonstrate that Israelis are focused on the peace process as 2008 gets underway. They are looking at what they consider to be key issues. And while these views could change once an agreement is presented to the public, these results show Israelis right now are not comfortable in light of current security issues," B'nai Brith World Center Director Alan Schneider said. A substantial majority of respondents, 68%, said that Israel must hold a referendum or new elections before a peace agreement that includes territorial concessions in the West Bank and Jerusalem can be finalized. Only 26% felt that the government was authorized to close such a deal without first receiving the public's seal of approval. The 500 people who responded to the survey in Hebrew constituted a representative sample of the Jewish population in Israel. The survey has a 4.5 percent margin of error. The poll was conducted by Keevoon Research, Strategy & Communications.