Israelis split on gov't approach to Iran strike

Poll finds country divided in its support of Netanyahu's handling of discussions with US over possible preemption.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at cabinet meeting 370 (photo credit: Pool/ Emil Salman )
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at cabinet meeting 370
(photo credit: Pool/ Emil Salman )
Israeli Jews are split in their support of the government’s handling of relations with the US over whether to preemptively strike Iranian nuclear facilities, according to August’s Peace Index released Friday.
The poll, conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute in conjunction with Tel Aviv University, found that 43 percent of Jewish Israelis support Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s firm engagement of US President Barack Obama on the issue of potential military action against Iran.
Forty percent of Israeli Jews considered Netanyahu’s approach unwise.
Notably, in the event of an attack on Iran, 55% of Jewish Israelis said they did not feel at risk of being harmed.
The release of the data comes on the heels of public tensions between Netanyahu and Obama over how to stop Iran’s ongoing nuclear progress.
The comprehensive Peace Index, compiled from a sample of 516 Israeli adults on September 7 and 8, also focused on economic and social aspects.
Nearly half of Israel’s Jews (46%) reported they feel insecure about their financial situation, a sentiment shared by 73% of Arab residents. When the Jewish population was dissected along political lines, the Index found that substantially more leftwing Jewish Israelis feel economically secure (63%) than their right-wing counterparts (46%).
Data released this week by the Central Bureau of Statistics showed that one-third of Israelis cannot cover their monthly household expenses.
More than three-quarters of Israeli Jews (76%) also said the government should have found other ways to reduce the deficit than raising gas prices and the VAT tax.
Regarding the recent Migron outpost evacuation, 45% reported satisfaction with the state complying with a Supreme Court order to evacuate, whereas 39% disagreed with the government’s decision.
With respect to overall performance, Israeli Jews maintain an overwhelmingly negative impression of the government.
Eighty-one percent believe the government has failed to reduce social gaps, 78% believe the government is inattentive to the public’s concerns, and 68% expressed disapproval with the government’s ability to fight crime.
The poll found that Arab-Israeli impressions of the government are similarly negative, with 79% doubting the government’s ability to reduce social gaps, and 76% negatively assessing its attentiveness to public concerns.
The poll also showed social divides in perceptions of crime. A full 69% of Israeli Arabs said they felt at risk of being victimized; only 38% of Israeli Jews feel at risk of being victim of a crime.
The lone sphere in which the government garnered the Jewish public’s support is security, with 62% expressing approval.
But despite widespread discontent in a number of areas, the majority of Israeli Jewish respondents said they were optimistic about the upcoming year.

Nadav Shemer contributed to this report.