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'Peace index': Israelis feeling safer
rebecca baskin
09/08/2009
Survey shows public doubts gov't ability to withstand int'l pressure.
Despite the recent streak of violent incidents throughout the country, Jewish Israelis' sense of security is on the rise. The August 2009 "War and Peace Index" of the Evans Program for Conflict Resolution Research of Tel Aviv University shows that the Israeli Jewish public's sense of security, on both personal and national levels, is increasing. However, it also shows that a majority of Israelis do not trust their government to withstand international political pressure, and that most see an urgent need for a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Forty-nine percent of those surveyed define their personal security level as high or very high, 29% as medium, and only 19% as low - compared to April 2007, when 42.5% described their level as high, 32% as medium and 24% as low. In terms of national security, 38% of those surveyed felt the level is high, 37% said medium, and 22% said low. In 2007, the respective rates were 24.5%, 36% and 39%. The survey also shows that those who define themselves as "left" feel less worried about the national security situation than those describing themselves as "center" or "right." Fifty-one percent of those on the Left feel that national security levels are high, compared to 37% of the Center and 39% of the Right. The same correlation between political leanings and sense of security extends to the question of whether or not interviewees feared a large-scale attack against Israel by one or more Arab states. Twenty percent of those on the Left fear such an attack, compared to 40% in the Center and 44% on the Right. However, overall, a plurality of those surveyed - 48% - see a low or very low chance of such an attack in the next five years. There is no clear trend on the way the Israeli Jewish public sees the country's situation on the world stage. One third think Israel is moderately or very isolated, another third think Israel is not at all or is barely isolated, and the last third have no clear view on the issue. However, the survey shows a clear tendency on the part of the public to doubt the current government's ability to withstand international pressure in order to safeguard Israel's political and security interests. Fifty-four percent do not rely on the government's ability at all, or not very much, compared to 42% who moderately or very much rely on it. Among Left, Right and Center the majority do not trust the government's ability, though the percentage on the Left, 57%, is slightly higher. Almost all of those surveyed - 85% - rely on the IDF to defend Israel and its citizens in the face of an attack by Arab states. Nonetheless, a large majority - 72% - believe that the need to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is urgent. This sense of urgency is clear all along the political spectrum, but is strongest on the Left. The public trusts the IDF to deal with an attack, but would prefer a political solution. Interviews were conducted on August 31st and September 1st, 2009. 530 people representing the adult population of Israel, including the territories and kibbutzim, were surveyed.
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