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The Peace Index:
Date Published: 08/01/2013
Survey dates: 31/12/2012 - 02/01/2013

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The December Index

Right or left? Some two weeks before the elections, the Peace Index survey reveals what we already know: the Jewish public’s positions reflect the right-wing mood that has prevailed for some time in Israeli Jewish society, at least when it comes to the political-security domain. This tendency is evident, first of all, in the respondents' self-definition: 55% of the Jews define themselves as right-wing in this area, while 21% define themselves as center and 17% as left. The same holds true for voting intentions: about 50% of Jewish respondents report that they intend to vote for secular right-wing and religious right-wing parties, and 30% for parties of the center and the left, while the rest of the respondents have not yet decided or did not respond. Likewise, on the question of who is best suited to deal with political-security issues, 53% chose current Likud leader and prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, with two other figures with a pronounced right-wing profile considerably behind him: Avigdor Liberman (28%) and Naftali Bennett (25%). Only 19% see Tzipi Livni, who presents herself as an expert on these types of issues, as suited to deal with them (even Shaul Mofaz, at 21%, did better than her in this area). Only 14% view Shelly Yachimovich as qualified to deal with political-security issues, and even fewer (8%) consider Yair Lapid to be qualified.

Self-definition of Jewish respondents in the socioeconomic domain is as follows: 33% affiliate with the social-democratic camp in its various shadings, 40% position themselves in the center, and 22% place themselves in the capitalist camp. When its comes to qualifications of leadership in this domain, preferences similarly differ from those found in the political-security area: the largest proportion of the Jewish public (45%) views Labor Party chief Shelly Yachimovich as best suited to deal with these issues, while Netanyahu comes in a good deal lower (36%). In third place is Yair Lapid (25%), followed by Naftali Bennett (20%) and Tzipi Livni (19%).

A cross-tabulation of the responses regarding voting intentions in the upcoming elections on the one hand, and political self-definition as right, center, or left on the other, reveals a majority defining themselves on the right among respondents intending to vote for the following parties (in descending order): United Torah Judaism (100%), Habayit Hayehudi (96.5%), and Likud (85%). A majority defining themselves as centrists was found among those intending to vote for Kadima (83%), Hatnuah (71%), and Yesh Atid (50%). Not surprisingly, a majority defining themselves as left-wing was found only among those intending to vote for Labor (57%) and Meretz (96%).

Negotiating with the Palestinians. On specific issues related to the political-security domain, the Jewish public’s positions also align more with the positions of the right. Some 67% agree with the assertion that no matter which parties prevail in the elections, the peace process with the Palestinians will remain at a standstill for reasons not connected to Israel, and there is no chance of progress in the foreseeable future. It comes as no surprise, then, that almost two-thirds (64%) see the likelihood of a Netanyahu-led government renewing the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority as moderately low or very low. Indeed, about half of the Jewish public affirms that Israel should follow the policy of the present government even at the cost of a confrontation with the U.S. administration!

Right-wing—but moderate. At the same time, it appears, at least on the surface, that the Jewish public’s right-wing mood is closer to the moderate right than to the radical right. Even at present, a majority of 60% support a peace agreement with the Palestinians based on the two-states-for-two-peoples solution. A segmentation of the positions on this question by voting intentions reveals some very surprising results. A peace agreement according to the two-state formula is supported by 100% of those intending to vote Meretz, 88% of Hatnuah voters, 83% of Yesh Atid voters, 80% of Kadima and Labor voters, and 52% of those intending to vote Likud—but it is only supported by 32% of Habayit Hayehudi voters, 13% of Shas voters, and 10% of those intending to vote for United Torah Judaism. Likewise, 57.5% of all the Jewish respondents would agree to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state if there were appropriate security arrangements. At the same time, one cannot ignore the fact that a majority, albeit small (51% vs. 46%), holds the opinion that under no circumstances should settlements in Judea and Samaria be dismantled. A larger majority (58%) disagrees with the position that if there is a peace agreement that includes appropriate security arrangements, the Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem can be transferred to the Palestinians. In other words, the Jewish public may support the two-state solution, but only on Israel’s terms.

The people are with the Golan. A very interesting finding, perhaps explained by the current developments in Syria, is that a much larger majority than the majority that opposes transferring East Jerusalem to the Palestinians if there is a peace agreement opposes returning the Golan Heights to the Syrians even if there is a peace agreement that includes appropriate security arrangements (84%). A segmentation of the responses to this question by voting intentions reveals that in all the parties—with the exception of Meretz, where 50% of prospective voters would agree to cede the Golan in return for peace with Syria—a majority opposes relinquishing the Heights even for peace.

A Jewish state or the Greater Land of Israel? Another finding that should be taken into account, and which the Peace Index surveys turn up repeatedly, is that a decisive majority of 71.5% of the Jewish public regards a Jewish majority in the State of Israel as more important than having the State of Israel include all parts of the Land of Israel west of the Jordan. Here, a segmentation of the responses by voting intentions shows that only among those intending to vote for Habayit Hayehudi and United Torah Judaism is there only a minority of respondents (47% and 30%, respectively) who prefer a state with a Jewish majority to Israeli rule over all parts of the Land of Israel.

The Negotiations Index for December, 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 49.0; Jewish sample 47.2.

Graph of the month: Support for a two-state solution by voting intentions
(% of Jewish sample)

Graph of the month: Support for a two-state solution by voting intentions

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 December 31, 2012 to January 2, 2013, by the Dahaf Institute. The survey included 601 respondents, who constitute a representative sample of the adult 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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