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The Peace Index:
April
 
2012
Survey dates: 30/04/2012 - 02/05/2012

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Summary of the Findings

The month of April, replete with national holidays, offers a good opportunity to gauge the public’s positions on general questions related to the State of Israel’s performance in different areas, as well as to questions of identity and belonging.

What has Israel accomplished? In the eyes of the Jewish public, the state has a mixed balance sheet of successes and failures. In three areas, the rate of positive evaluations exceeds that of negative evaluations: ensuring the existence of the state from a military standpoint (85% of respondents see the state as successful), maintaining the democratic regime (63.5%), and creating a stable and modern economy (59%). In four areas, the negative evaluations exceeds the positive, with the majority perceiving failure: closing socioeconomic gaps (85.5%), bridging the religious-secular divide (85%), promoting peace with the Arab world (81%), and fighting corruption (80%).

What should be done? The Jewish public ranks the goal of reducing socioeconomic gaps first (41%). This is followed by creating affordable housing solutions (16%), reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians (15%), improving Israel’s standing in the international arena (13%), and increasing Israel’s military power (12%). For the Arab public, the most important goals are peace with the Palestinians (34%) and reducing socioeconomic gaps (28%).

And what about the Israeli-Palestinian issue? In response to a separate question about the urgency of achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace , 58% of the Jewish respondents and 51% of the Arab respondents defined the issue as urgent or very urgent. At the same time, 58% of the Jewish interviewees and 61% of the Arab ones saw no chance of ending the conflict in accordance with the "two states for two peoples" formula at the present time.

Who belongs and who does not? We asked: “In your opinion, were all parts of Israeli society appropriately represented this year among the Independence Day torch lighters?” The findings were extremely unusual for the Israeli public: the most common answer (40%) was “I don’t know.” The rate of those who saw the representation as appropriate was 38%, while some 22% saw it as inappropriate. We asked specifically: “Did it or did it not disturb you that there was not a single Israeli Arab among the torch lighters this year?” Seventy-two percent of the Jewish respondents said this fact did not or almost did not disturb them. The notable trend of exclusion of Israeli Arabs was also addressed by the question “In your opinion, is ‘Hatikvah’ suitable or unsuitable to serve as the national anthem of the State of Israel, in which approximately one-fifth of citizens are Arabs?” An overwhelming majority of the Jewish respondents (80%) said that the anthem is suitable. At the same time, however, a majority of Jewish respondents (62) responded that an Arab citizen of Israel who holds official position should not be required to sing “Hatikvah” at public events. Among Arab respondents, 76% thought the torch-lighting ceremony had inappropriate representation of the different parts of Israeli society. Ninety percent of them answered that “Hatikvah” is not suitable to serve as the country’s anthem, and 91% are sure or think that an Arab citizen of Israel who holds an official position should not be required to sing “Hatikvah” at public events.

Graph of the month: “In your opinion, should or should not Arab citizens of Israel who hold official positions be required to sing ‘Hatikvah’ at public events”?

Graph of the month: “In your opinion, should or should not Arab citizens of Israel who hold official positions be required to sing ‘Hatikvah’ at public events”?



The Findings in Detail

For a majority of Israelis, the time of the year from Passover through Holocaust Remembrance Day to Independence Day is a period in which complex issues related to the relationship between the State of Israel and its citizens, and the nature of the state itself, are raised for public discussion. In the April survey, we explored these issues more deeply.

We first addressed the country’s achievements to date. The data show that for the Jewish public, the balance of Israel’s successes and failures is a mixed one. In three areas, the rate of positive evaluations is unequivocally higher than the rate of negative ones: ensuring the state’s existence militarily (85% of respondents see success), maintaining the democratic regime (63.5%), and creating a stable and modern economy (59%). These are exactly the same three areas in which we found a positive balance of evaluations last year. In four areas, however, the rate of negative evaluations this year exceeds the positive, and the majority of respondents perceive failure: closing socioeconomic gaps (85.5%), narrowing the religious-secular gap (85%), promoting peace with the Arab world (81%), and fighting corruption (80%). The order is different in the Arab public: Here too, a majority (75%) sees Israel as successful in ensuring the state’s existence militarily, and a certain majority (59%) also sees a positive balance of success in establishing a stable economy. Unlike the Jewish public, however, a majority of the Arab public (55.5%) sees Israeli's maintenance of the democratic regime as a failure. In addition, in all the areas in which the Jewish respondents saw the state as failing, the Arab respondents thought the same.

In light of the above, we sought to clarify what goals the public believes the state should promote. Just like last year, the Jewish public gave highest priority to the goal of reducing socioeconomic gaps (41%); after that came creating affordable housing (16%), reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians (15%), improving Israel’s standing in the international arena (13%), and increasing Israel’s military power (12%). For the Arab public, the most important goals are achieving peace with the Palestinians (34%) and reducing socioeconomic gaps (28%).

A segmentation of the Jewish public’s preferences by voting in the latest Knesset elections shows two exceptions regarding the national order of priorities: voters for United Torah Judaism, who put affordable housing (54.5%) first, and voters for Meretz, an overwhelming majority of whom (82%) regard achieving peace as the state’s supreme goal. Interestingly, increasing Israel’s military power did not top the list for the voters of any of the parties.

In response to a separate question on the current urgency of achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace, 58% of the Jewish respondents defined the issue as urgent or very urgent, despite the relatively low priority this group assigned it in the previous question. This is even more than the 51% of Arabs who took a similar position. The considerable disagreement on this question in both populations apparently stems from the fact that many people in both groups (58% of Jewish respondents and 61% of Arab) currently see no realistic chances of ending the conflict in accordance with the "two states for two people" formula. A segmentation of the positions on this question by voting reveals a majority for those who do see chances of such a resolution only—and not surprisingly—among voters for Labor (90%), Meretz (68%), and Kadima (65%).

At the end of Independence Day, we sought to gauge the Jewish public’s degree of interest in the various national ceremonies of this time of year. The rates of reported viewing of television broadcasts are very interesting and perhaps suggest that at this time this year, social cohesiveness is still high: 56% of Jewish respondents said they watched the Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony that was broadcast from Mt. Herzl. As for the ceremony on Remembrance Day for Fallen Soldiers and the torch-lighting ceremony on the eve of Independence Day, 61% viewed each of these ceremonies. Twenty-seven percent reported that they watched the broadcast of the Israel Prize ceremony, and 21% said they watched the International Bible Quiz.

We asked: “Among the torch lighters in the ceremony on the eve of Israel Independence Day this year, was there or was there not appropriate representation of all parts of Israeli society?” The findings were extremely unusual for the Israeli public, which usually displays great interest in and knowledge of sociopolitical issues: the most common answer among Jewish respondents (40%) was “I don’t know.” Notably, the high rate of those who did not know or did not have an opinion on this issue was found in all the secular and religious groups, and among the voters for most of the parties! Some 38% saw the representation as appropriate, while 22% considered it inappropriate. We asked more specifically: “Did it disturb you or did it not disturb you that there was not a single Israeli Arab among the torch lighters this year?” Seventy-two percent of the Jewish respondents said this fact did not or almost did not disturb them. The highest rate (29%) of those who were disturbed by it was found among those who define themselves as secular and among Meretz (70%) and Labor (50%) voters.

The trend of exclusion of Israeli Arabs was also reflected in the answers to the question: “In your opinion, is ‘Hatikvah’ suitable or unsuitable to serve as the national anthem of the State of Israel, in which approximately one-fifth of citizens are Arabs?” An overwhelming majority of the Jews (80%) responded that the anthem is suitable. The only group that was divided on this question was the haredim, 47% of whom thought it was suitable while 40% thought it was not.

At the same time, a majority (62%) of the Jewish public offered the opinion that Arab citizens of Israel who hold an official position should not be required to sing “Hatikvah” at public events. Only among Yisrael Beiteinu voters did a 59% majority say Arabs should be required to sing “Hatikvah” at public events, while Jewish Home (Habayit Hayehudi) voters were evenly split at 45%–45%. As for the Arab respondents, 76% thought there was inappropriate representation of the different parts of Israeli society in the torch-lighting ceremony. Ninety percent answered that “Hatikvah” is not suitable to serve as the country’s anthem, and 91% are sure or think that an Arab citizen of Israel who holds an official position should not be required to sing “Hatikvah” at public events.


The Negotiations Index for April, 2012
The Peace Index project includes ongoing monitoring of the Israeli public's attitudes towards peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The monthly Negotiation Index is comprised of two questions, one focusing on public support for peace negotiations and the other on the degree to which the public believes that such talks will actually lead to peace. The aggregated replies to these two questions are calculated, combined, and standardized on a scale of 0-100, in which 0 represents total lack of support for negotiations and lack of belief in their potential to bear fruit, and 100 represents total support for the process and belief in its potential. Each month, the Negotiations Index presents two distinct findings, one for the general Israeli population and the other for Jewish Israelis.

Negotiations Index: General sample 49.5; Jewish sample 49.7


The Peace Index is a project of the Evens Program in Mediation and Conflict Resolution at Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute. This month's survey was conducted by telephone on April 30- May 2 by the Dahaf Institute. The survey included 609 respondents, who constitute a representative sample of the adult Jewish population of Israel. The measurement error for a sample of this size is 4.5%; statistical processing was done by Ms. Yasmin Alkalay.



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