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JUNE




The Peace Index:
June
 
2012
Survey dates: 03/07/2012 - 05/07/2012

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Summary of the Findings

Who among the Haredim should serve and when? The majority of the Jewish public (58%) supports exempting a limited number of yeshiva students who are “great Torah scholars” from military service, but opposes deferring the service of all the others and favors their enlistment at age 18. Only a small minority (18%) would leave the present situation as it is. A similar minority (19%) supports the Plesner Committee’s recommendation that a few young, great Torah scholars should continue their yeshiva study, while all the rest should be drafted into the IDF at age 22 or 23.

And what of the Arabs? Here the Jewish public is divided: 45.5% think the present situation should remain as it is, with the Arabs exempt from service but able to volunteer for military or civilian service, while 41% say all young Arabs should have to start military or civilian service at age 18. Only a tiny minority (7%) believes all young Arabs should be required to serve in the military. In the Arab public, a large majority (72%) favors leaving the situation as it is.

What kinds of protest are permissible? We asked what measures are permissible for citizens to take if they think the government is damaging Israel’s national interests or their own civil and social rights. There is an extremely broad consensus (91% of the Jewish public and 70% of the Arab public) for the view that protest that is conducted within the framework of the law is permissible (for example, organizing petitions or demonstrating). About a quarter of the Jews (27%) and about a third of the Arabs (36%) see it as permissible to engage in nonviolent civil rebellion outside the law (for example, by demonstrating without a license or blocking roads). Two percent of the Jewish respondents but 31% of Arab respondents are also prepared to countenance violent rebellion such as the damaging of property. These data clarify why an overwhelming majority (80%) of the Jews and a minority (40%) of the Arabs did not agree that last summer’s protest could have been more effective if the organizers had also employed measures outside the framework of the law.

Who was served by last summer’s protest and who is being served by this year’s? The majority of the Jewish public (58%) views the 2011 social protest as a response to the genuine distress of different groups in society. Only 42% hold this position, however, with regard to the current summer’s protest. In the Arab public, a higher rate sees the protest of both last year and this year as interest-driven.

What do the Egyptian election results tell us? A majority of the Jewish public is not optimistic. Sixty-one percent think the fact that the Egyptian elections went smoothly does not necessarily imply that the new regime will be democratic. A majority of the Arab public (53.5%), though, sees the well-conducted elections as a positive sign for democracy in Egypt.

And what about Egypt's peace treaty with Israel? The majority (52%) of the Jewish public does not think the treaty will be formally canceled but expects relations to suffer. Only a minority (22%) thinks the treaty will remain as it is, 14.5% are of the opinion that it will be canceled and a no-peace, no-war situation will emerge, and 5% believe that Egypt will return to the cycle of war with Israel. The majority (53%) of the Arab public expects the treaty to remain as it is.

Graph of the month: What Will Happen to the Peace Treaty with Israel after Mohamed Morsy’s Election as President of Egypt?

Graph of the month: What Will Happen to the Peace Treaty with Israel after Mohamed Morsy’s Election as President of Egypt?

The Findings in Detail

The fierce debate over drafting the Haredim has drawn widespread public attention lately. It seems, though, that there is considerable agreement among the public about the preferred solution, whether it is realistic or not from a practical, political standpoint. The majority of the Jewish public (58%) supports exempting a limited number of yeshiva students who are “great Torah scholars” from military service, but opposes deferring the service of all the others and favors their enlistment at age 18. Only a small minority (18%) would leave the present situation as it is. A similar minority (19%) supports the Plesner Committee’s recommendation that a few young “great Torah scholars” should continue their yeshiva study, while all other Haredi men should be drafted into the IDF at age 22 or 23.

A segmentation of the responses by degree of religiosity shows that almost all the ultra-Orthodox respondents (92%) vs. only 9% of the secular support continuing the current situation. As for the solution that all Haredi men except “great Torah scholars” be drafted at age 18, the picture is indeed the reverse: only 2% of Haredi respondents favor this solution, compared to 75% of the secular.

Given the likely cost of drafting Haredi men who are already aged 22 or 23, we asked which should be assigned greater weight—their need to remain in yeshiva until that age so as to strengthen their Haredi lifestyle and make them less vulnerable to the effects of military service, or the very high cost of drafting young Haredim who already have families and accordingly must receive greater stipends from the Israeli army. Of the total Jewish public, 19% assigned greater importance to the first matter (as opposed to 60% of Haredi respondents, who gave it greater weight) while 69% of the total public assigned greater importance in the economic cost of late recruitment (vs. 20% of the Haredim).

Despite the attempt by certain political elements to link the issues of drafting Haredim and drafting Arabs, the public clearly distinguishes between the two and looks for different solutions for the two groups. On the question of drafting young Israeli Arabs, the Jewish public is, in fact, divided: 45.5% think the present situation should remain as it is, with Arabs exempt but able to volunteer for military or civilian service, while 41% say that all young Arabs should have to start military or civilian service at age 18. Only a tiny minority (7%) believes all young Arabs should be required to serve in the military.

A segmentation of the responses to this question by the respondent's degree of religiosity revealed large gaps between the groups. Whereas only a minority of secular respondents and respondents who identify as traditional but not religious favor leaving the situation as it is (36% of the secular and 42% of the traditional), that solution receives a majority among traditional-religious respondents (54%), religious respondents (59%), and especially the Haredim (69%).

In the Arab public, a large majority (72%) favors leaving the situation as it is.
The issue of the protest that may or may not be re-starting was the next to be explored. We asked what measures are permissible for citizens to take if they think the government is damaging Israel’s national interests or their own civil and social rights. There is an extremely broad consensus (91% of the Jewish public and 70% of the Arab public) for the view that protest that is conducted within the framework of the law is permissible (for example, organizing petitions or demonstrating). About a quarter of the Jews (27%) and about a third of the Arabs (36%) also see it as permissible to engage in nonviolent civil rebellion outside the law (for example, by demonstrating without a license or blocking roads). Two percent of the Jewish respondents but 31% of the Arab respondents are also prepared to countenance violent rebellion, such as the damaging of property. These data clarify why an overwhelming majority (80%) of Jewish respondents and a minority (40%) of the Arab did not agree that last summer’s protest could have been more effective if the organizers had also employed measures outside the framework of the law.

We looked into who the public sees as responsible for the violence that broke out during the recent social-protest demonstration on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv. In the Israeli public as a whole, the prevailing view (41%) is that certain elements in the protest movement were mainly to blame, while 30% primarily blame the police and the city officials. Thirteen percent see both sides as responsible to the same extent.

A segmentation of the Jewish public’s responses to these questions by voting in the latest Knesset elections revealed huge gaps. Whereas 90% of Meretz voters cast most of the blame on the police, as do 52% of Kadima voters, a majority of voters for Yisrael Beiteinu (83%), Torah Judaism (53%), and Likud (50%) attribute most of the responsibility for the violence to elements among the protesters. As for Labor voters, the rates of those who mainly blame the police and those who mainly blame the protesters are similar at about 30% (the rest blame both sides to the same extent or don’t know).

When it comes to the results of last summer’s social protest, only a tiny minority of the overall sample (12%) thinks the government has upheld the promises it made regarding the protest to a great or very great extent; 34% consider that the government has upheld its commitments “to a certain extent,” while the majority – 53% views the government as having upheld its promises to a small extent or not at all.

We also looked into who, in the public’s opinion, was served by last summer’s protest and is being served by this year’s protest. The majority of the Jewish public (58%) sees the 2011 social protest as a response to the genuine distress of different groups in Israeli society. Only 42% hold this position, however, with regard to the current summer’s protest. In the Arab public, the higher rates considers the protest of both last year and this year as interest-driven.

And what do the Egyptian election results tell us? A majority of the Jewish public is not optimistic. Sixty-one percent think the fact that the Egyptian elections went smoothly does not necessarily imply that the new regime will be democratic. A majority of the Arab public (53.5%), though, sees the well-conducted elections as a positive sign for democracy in Egypt.

In the same spirit, 58% of the Jewish public holds the view that the United States made a mistake when it supported the Egyptian protest when it started in hopes of strengthening democracy in Egypt. About a third think Washington acted correctly. In the Arab public, however, 67% affirm that the United States was right to support the democratic protest in Egypt even if this eventually contributed to the rise of the Islamist forces.

And what about Egypt's peace treaty with Israel? The majority (52%) of the Jewish public does not think the treaty will be formally canceled but expects relations to suffer. Only a minority (22%) thinks the treaty will remain as it is, 14.5% are of the opinion that it will be canceled and a no-peace, no-war situation will emerge, and 5% believe that Egypt will return to the cycle of war with Israel. The majority (53%) of the Arab public expects the treaty to remain as it is.

The outlook is also pessimistic regarding relations between Egypt and the two main Palestinian factions. Fifty-four percent of respondents expect the election of an Egyptian president from the Islamist movement to strengthen Hamas, while only 6% see it as strengthening Fatah. Nineteen percent think it will have no impact in either direction and 21% don’t know.

The Negotiations Index for June, 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: 46.4; Jewish sample 44.6


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 July 3-5 by the Dahaf Institute. The survey included 601 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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