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The Peace Index:
Date Published: 03/01/2018
Survey dates: 26/12/2017 - 27/12/2017

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Prof. Ephraim Yaar and Prof. Tamar Hermann

In light of President Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the subsequent diplomatic developments, most of the December Peace Index survey focused on the status of the city. We also addressed three other issues that played a major role in the public discourse this month: the anticorruption demonstrations, the authorities’ conduct of the investigations of Netanyahu, and the state’s behavior toward the Teva company.

Trump is good for Israel: A large majority of the Jewish public (65%) thinks President Trump’s public declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel contributed to Israel’s interests to a very great or moderately great extent. A clear majority, though smaller (59%), also thinks Trump understands Israel’s interests to a very great or moderately great extent. A segmentation by political camps shows that overwhelmingly majority of those on the right believe the declaration well served Israel’s interests (81%), over half of the center (56%) of the center, and a minority on the left (24%). Among the Arab respondents, about two-thirds consider that the declaration did not contribute to Israel’s interests. A similar picture emerged for the pattern of responses to the question on the extent to which the U.S. president understands Israel’s interests: on the right, a majority of 72% thinks he understands them well; in the center 53% think so; on the left 30%. In the Arab public 52% say Trump does not understand Israel’s interests.

The UN resolution - words, words, words: A majority (64%) of the Jewish public thinks that the recent UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, adopted with very large majorities, on rejecting Trump’s declaration are not likely to harm Israel’s interests in actuality because they are just words. Note that a majority holds this view in all the political camps. The same is true of the Arab interviewees, 56% of whom do not see the UN resolutions as having practical significance.

Is it a political tsunami? On the question of whether there is or is not a contradiction between Prime Minister Netanyahu’s repeated assertions that Israel’s international status is now very good and the large number of countries that voted in the United Nations against recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a small minority of the Jewish public (51%) considers that there is a contradiction, while 40% see no contradiction here. It should be noted that on the left a majority sees a contradiction, while the right is split. As for the Arab public, a large majority (68%) thinks there is a contradiction between Netanyahu’s assessment of Israel’s international status and what the UN votes revealed.

The status of Jerusalem - between aspirations and reality: What do Israelis want? A majority of the Jewish public (72%) thinks that after stable peace between Israel and the Palestinians has been achieved, Jerusalem should be united and the capital of Israel (including those who would accept the Islamic holy places being in the Palestinians’ hands). Very few see a likelihood of alternatives that would reduce Israel’s control of the city: 12% think that in a situation of peace, the western part should remain the capital of Israel and the eastern part should be the capital of Palestine; 7% say Jerusalem should be an international city; while 5.5% believe the city should remain united and be the joint capital of Israel and Palestine.
In the Arab public the highest rate, 44%, wants the city to be divided with the eastern part serving as the capital of Palestine and the western part as the capital of Israel. The second largest rate, 22%, wants it to remain united and be the capital of both countries, Israel and Palestine.
And what do people think will actually happen? To the question “What, in your opinion, will in fact happen if a peace agreement is signed between Israel and the Palestinians?” half (50%) of the Jewish public answered that the city will remain united and the capital of Israel (including those who think it will remain united but the Islamic holy places will be transferred to the Palestinians), about a quarter expect it to be divided and to be the capital of both states, and small percentages chose a common capital or an international city as likely alternatives. The high rate of Arab interviewees who did not give an answer to this question, about one-third, prevents us from relating to this sample’s distribution of responses.

Jerusalem is already divided: Notwithstanding the current aspirations and expectations, a clear majority of the Jewish public (61%) agrees with the view that “Jerusalem is already divided into two cities: the eastern city and the western city.” Among the Arab interviewees, this rate is slightly higher at about two-thirds.

The anticorruption demonstrations- We asked: “Recently, each Saturday evening in Tel Aviv, demonstrations have been held under the slogan ‘the struggle against corruption.’ In your opinion, are the demonstrators really engaged in a struggle against corruption or do they just want to remove Netanyahu from office?” Although no majority emerged in the Jewish public, the prevailing response (46%) was that the demonstrators want to remove Netanyahu from office, with the rest divided between those who think the demonstrators are fighting corruption (21.5%) and those who replied that both motives are operating to an equal extent (25%). A segmentation by political camps revealed that on the left the highest rate sees the demonstrators as mainly seeking to put an end to corruption, while in the center about one-fourth hold that view and on the right only a small minority of 12%.

The demonstrations and the New Israel Fund: Netanyahu recently claimed that the New Israel Fund is funding these demonstrations, while the demonstrations’ organizers say there is no and has been no such funding by the NIF. To the question “Whom do you believe more - Netanyahu or the demonstrations’ organizers?” 32% of the Jewish public responded that they believe Netanyahu more, 37% that they believe the organizers more, and 31% that they do not know. In other words, the Jewish public is uncertain on this issue but tends to believe the demonstrations’ organizers slightly more than Netanyahu. Among the Arab interviewees, more than two-thirds believe the claim of the demonstrations’ organizers that they are not receiving any NIF funding.

How many have participated? To the question “Have you or have you not participated in one or more of the demonstrations against corruption that have been held in Tel Aviv or other places in Israel?” 5.4% answer affirmatively. In absolute numbers, this percentage currently represents some 250,000 men and women of the adult (18+) Jewish population of Israel. A segmentation of the Jewish sample by political camps reveals that on the right, 3% say they have participated in demonstrations; in the center, 6%; on the left, 12%.

Trust in the professionalism of the authorities: A large majority of the Jewish public (64%) greatly or moderately trusts the professionalism of the police in conducting the investigations of Netanyahu. A similar pattern of responses emerged regarding Attorney General Mandelblit: 59% greatly or moderately trust him to decide professionally when he receives the police findings on the Netanyahu investigations. As for the Arab interviewees, the highest rate, about half, do not trust the professional judgment of the police, while slightly more than half trust the professional judgment of the attorney general.

The state’s behavior toward the Teva company: A majority of the Jewish public (56%) thinks the state acted rightly in the past when it gave Teva tax breaks so that it could widen and deepen its activity in Israel. In the Arab public, the rate who think the state did not act rightly in giving Teva tax breaks is slightly higher than the rate of those who think the opposite (42% vs. 37%). With regard to the current situation, a large majority (62.5%) says it is preferable for the state to focus on finding new jobs for the laid-off workers, while only a small minority (15%) prefers the alternative of finding ways to financially assist the Teva company. The picture in the Arab public is different: the highest rate (40%) believes the state should rescue Teva from the crisis compared to 37% who believe it should concentrate on seeking new jobs for the workers.

Is Teva an Israeli company? The Jewish public is split on whether it now perceives Teva as an Israeli company: 45% perceive it as one and 46% do not. A similar picture emerges on the general question of whether, in difficult cases of managerial errors, it should be possible to indict managers who have failed, or instead such a law should be avoided because then people will not want to take managerial responsibility upon themselves and the economy will be harmed. The responses show that 46% favor such legislation while 43% view it as undesirable. In the Arab public, about two-thirds feel that Teva is still an Israeli company. Slightly more, 67%, think a law should be passed to enable indicting managers for severe managerial errors.

Negotiations Index: 44.5 (Jews 43.8)

Diagram of the month: Do you agree or disagree with this opinion: “In reality, Jerusalem is already divided into two cities: the eastern city and the western city”? (%, already divided, Jews, by years)
Diagram of the month: Do you agree or disagree with this opinion: “In reality, Jerusalem is already divided into two cities: the eastern city and the western city”? (%, already divided, Jews, by years)

The Peace Index is a project of the Evens Program for Mediation and Conflict Resolution at Tel Aviv University and the Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research of the Israel Democracy Institute. This month's survey was conducted by telephone and Internet on December 26-27, 2017, by the Midgam Research Institute. The survey included 600 respondents- 500 Jews and 100 Arabs - who constitute a representative national sample of the adult population of Israel aged 18 and over. The maximum measurement error for the entire sample is ±4.1% at a confidence level of 95%. Statistical analyses were done by Ms. Yasmin Alkalay.

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