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NOVEMBER




The Peace Index:
November
 
2012
Survey dates: 28/11/2012 - 02/12/2012

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The November Index

The goals of Operation Pillar of Defense – A majority (61%) of the Jewish public thinks the government had clear goals when it decided to launch the operation (only 49% of the Arab public shares this view). In retrospect, though, the prevailing assessment (51%) is that the government did not achieve its goals at all (15%) or achieved only some of them (36%). The Arab public takes an almost identical view. It should be noted that even among the members of the Jewish public who defined themselves as politically right-wing, the rate of those who think the operation did not achieve its goals (50%) is higher than the number who think it did, although the rate among respondents defining themselves as left-wing is higher (60%). Among Jewish respondents, the rate who think the government did not sufficiently explain the operation’s goals to the public (52%) is higher, than the rate who hold the opposite view that it did explain the goals adequately (44%), although not dramatically so. The rates for the Arab public were similar with regard to this question.

The success of the operation – Some two weeks after Pillar of Defense came to an end, it appears there is broad agreement (84%) in the Jewish public that the operation was justified. Even among those who define themselves as left-wing, the majority (74%) thinks the operation was justified, although that rate is somewhat lower than the rate among those who define themselves as right-wing (89%) or centrist (85.5%). The dissatisfaction about the government’s achievement of its goals is apparently connected to the public’s divided opinions regarding the point at which the operation was brought to a halt: whereas a small majority (53%) believes the decision to end the operation at that point was correct, a considerable minority (44%) thinks the decision was mistaken. A cross-check of the two questions—achievement of the operation’s goals and the point at which the operation was stopped—shows that while the majority (53%) of those who think the operation was stopped at the right time think that the goals of the operation were achieved, a large majority (69%) of those who opposed ending the operation at the point at which it was stopped believes that the goals were not achieved. A clear distinction between right and left emerges from an analysis of support for the ending of the operation: whereas among respondents who identify themselves as being on the political right only a minority—although considerable (47%)—supports the timing of the decision to end the operation, a majority (57%) of respondents on the left supports the timing of this decision. As for the Arab public, opinions are evenly split between those who think the operation was justified and those who think it was not. A large majority (75%), however, supports the decision to end the operation when it was ended.

The functioning of different actors involved in the operation – The disagreement among large parts of the Jewish public about the desirability of stopping the operation at the point at which it was ended and about the adequacy of the government’s explanation of its goals to the public could explain why the functioning of the national political leaders during Pillar of Defense got lower grades than the functioning of other actors involved. Indeed, a majority of Jewish respondents (62%, compared to 47% of the Arab public) thinks the functioning of the national political leaders was good or very good. This assessment, however, was low compared to the assessment of the functioning of the IDF (94% in the Jewish public and 50% in the Arab public), of the local leadership in the south and the center of the country (87% in the Jewish public and 51% in the Arab), and of the population of the south (91% in the Jewish public and 55% in the Arab public). Regarding the functioning of the political echelon, we found gaps—though not huge—between those defining themselves as right-wing and left-wing. In both camps, however, the overall grade was on the positive side: on the right, 63% characterized the political echelon’s functioning as good or very good, while on the left, 56% saw it as such.

Operation Pillar of Defense and Israel’s deterrence – The Jewish public appears divided in its views on this matter: 39% think Israel’s deterrence has not changed, 38% say it has increased, and 16% believe it has weakened. However, we should add to this the fact that a majority of the public expects the ceasefire to last for only a short period of time (only a small minority—18%—thinks that it will last a year or longer, while 25% think it will last for six months to a year, and the rest think that Hamas will start firing again within a few months, weeks, or days). Hence the prevailing response, which sees Israel’s deterrence as unchanged, should be seen in light of the fact that the deterrence was not considered strong in the first place. On this question we found large gaps between the political right and left: a clear majority of respondents who identify themselves as left (59%) thinks that Israel’s deterrence was not changed by the operation (compared to only 26% who think it increased), while on the right, a higher rate (34%) thinks that Israel’s deterrence was strengthened and 32% believe it has remained unchanged. In both camps, only a small minority thinks Israeli deterrence was weakened by the operation. A different picture emerges in the Arab public: the highest rate (33%) think deterrence was weakened, 29% think that it increased, and 24% think that it has remained as it was.

The involvement of foreign players in the operation and its cessation – In light of the role played by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and U.S. President Barack Obama during the operation and in reaching the ceasefire, we explored how the public assesses the performance of these two leaders, who generally are not viewed favorably by the Israeli Jewish public. The findings show that in this specific case, the opinions regarding both of these leaders are extremely positive. About two-thirds of the Jewish respondents saw Morsi’s role as positive; in the Arab public, this rate reached as high as three-quarters. Likewise, 60% of the Jewish public was favorably surprised by the position toward Israel that Obama took during the operation. Only 48% of the Arab public was favorably surprised by his treatment of Israel, perhaps because the view that Obama supports Israel is more common in the Arab public in the first place.

With elections on the way: security or socioeconomic? We were interested in whether Operation Pillar of Defense and its results tipped the voters’ scales in favor of the security agenda at the expense of the socioeconomic agenda. It turns out this did not happen, and the tie score between these two aspects of the public agenda that has been found regularly since mid-2011 (compared to the clear dominance of security issues that was found in the past) remains as it was. In response to the question: “Which of the following issues will influence you most when you decide in the near future which party to vote for in the elections?” 20% responded that the socioeconomic issue will hold sway, 15% responded that the security issue will guide them in their vote, and a clear majority of 53% said that the two issues would be equally important to them. The picture in the Arab public is obscured by the fact that over one-quarter of the Arab respondents did not give a definite answer to this question. However, similar to previous Peace Index findings, the rate of Arab respondents who indicate that the security issue is more important to them (30%) is higher than the rate of those who respond that economic issues will determine which party they will vote for (24%).

The Negotiations Index for November, 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: 43.6; Jewish sample: 40.2

Graph of the month: Which of the following issues will influence you most when you decide which party to vote for in the upcoming elections?
Graph of the month: Which of the following issues will influence you most when you decide which party to vote for in the upcoming elections?


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 from November 28 to December 2, 2012 by the Midgam Institute. The survey included 598 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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