Six days before Israelis head to the polls, Prime Minister Netanyahu and his challengers, Herzog-Livni, are closer than ever. According to a new survey, most Israelis support a continued peace process, but don't think it will succeed — regardless of who is at the helm. The past two-and-a-half months of campaigning leading up to next week's elections have been cast as a choice between “us and them,” between the stability of an incumbent and the change offered by his challenger. While the latest polls show Israelis almost evenly split — both among so-called Left and Right blocs, but also among…Read More... | 2 Comments
Pre-election polls are a national sport in Israel, but they're not very accurate. Now there's a new player on the field, running a new polling project that claims to to have found the system's flaws — and fixed them. A look at how polls affect voting patterns, which populations are traditionally under-represented and the mistakes that must continue to be made if 'Project 61' is to succeed. By Angela Gruber Predicting the future can be tricky business, especially for those trying to figure out how Israelis will vote in next month’s elections. Previous elections have proven that the big polling…Read More... | 20 Comments
A +972 poll puts the details of one such plan to the Israeli public, and finds that a majority supports the general approach. The new year begins with speculation about the possibility of a change of government in Israel. But it is not at all clear that even a more centrist government can advance a two-state peace process with the Palestinians. Israelis and Palestinians are pessimistic about both the potential for successful negotiations or the feasibility of the two-state solution. On this point, the two publics, frankly, are more realistic than various policy circles. In response, some people this past…Read More... | 20 Comments
With three-quarters of Israelis saying they worry about international isolation and only 10 percent supporting the status quo, logic would hold that they might seek change. But don't expect it to happen anytime soon. The success of the Zionist project — from the pre-state era to Startup Nation — is often attributed to some combination of stubbornness and improvisation in the face of adversity. Those characteristics form the nexus of how Israelis see themselves. Another way of describing those same traits, however, is a lucky combination of recklessness and desperation. Israelis know how much they stand to lose by not…Read More... | 19 Comments
The three Arab lists in the Knesset are expected to run together in response to a raised election threshold. Asked about self-identity, the majority consider themselves Arab, but a growing and significant minority call themselves Palestinian. Nearly 70 percent of Arabs citizens of Israel intend to vote if the three existing Arab parties run on a joint list, compared to 56 percent who voted in the 2013 elections, a new +972 poll found. But the call to boycott the elections holds powerful sway. A majority of 54 percent says that if there are such calls to boycott the elections, they…Read More... | 1 Comment
Over 70 percent of Israelis are worried about international isolation. Half believe settlements strengthen Israeli security and over half support a breakthrough vision for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – roughly the same rate of support for the traditional two-state paradigm. But one-quarter support an apartheid vision for the future. Half the population supports anchoring Jewish identity in law – but over half either oppose doing so or have no opinion. Fully three-quarters support President Rivlin’s conciliatory approach and criticism of the government. The contradictions and convictions of Israelis at the end of 2014, and the beginning of the election cycle,…Read More... | 10 Comments
Eight interesting notes from Pew Research’s Portrait of American Jewry, published on Tuesday. The most widely reported finding from a Pew survey on American Jewry released yesterday was that American Jews are increasingly secular. Close behind were reports on the number of American Jews who have Christmas trees in their homes. Below are some interesting tidbits that I found while reading the survey results. (Read the full survey here.) 1. More American Christians (55 percent) than American Jews (40 percent) believe that God gave Israel to the Jewish people. 2. American Jews are more than twice as likely than members…Read More... | 2 Comments
The Syria nightmare has gotten worse than imaginable, and now the only thing conceivably worse is what can be expected in the foreseeable future. In this awful environment, some interesting data has appeared about public attitudes from two important parts of the world: the U.S. and the Middle East. Here are a few thoughts about the findings. Please read this as not as a collection of cold statistics, but as a tally of how human beings assess the lives and value of other human beings, their responsibility to humanity and their fears and morals. U.S. on Syria: 45 percent of Americans…Read More... | 11 Comments
Listening to Israel’s political leaders, it sounds like the country might be at war by the time this piece goes to press. The government is counting on profound levels of fear in Israel to buoy its policies. Indeed, in January a survey of mine showed that Jewish respondents chose nuclear Iran as the top threat to the future of the Jewish state. Fully 70% of the Jewish population does not trust American assurances and its diplomatic approach, according to the August Peace Index survey, by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University. In that poll, a 56% majority doesn’t…Read More...
A new survey confirms that a clear majority of Israelis are opposed to a unilateral Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. Only 31 percent of all Israelis, Arabs and Jews, favor this option. Twice as many – 63 percent – are opposed. Over one-quarter are strongly opposed, which is more than twice those who are strongly in favor (12 percent). The survey is part of the Peace Index series, conducted by the Israeli Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, among a representative sample of 600 adults. Telephone interviewing took place on the 28-29 of February, prior to Prime Minister Netanyahu's…Read More... | 1 Comment
The latest polls from two regular series show some hopeful results in terms of Israeli Palestinian negotiations, concessions, and a future agreement. But are pollsters asking the right questions? Here’s a selection of data from a few recent surveys of the Israeli and Palestinian publics, showing the same old story: support for negotiations, some concessions and an agreement, which won’t happen and won’t bear fruit. In the future, I’d like to see more detailed public discussion of new stories. I’ve used initials for poll citations – and full survey information, with links, is available at the end. The Good…Read More... | 24 Comments
A new survey by Professor Shibley Telhami, with the University of Maryland, provides helpful, realistic, not always happy information about attitudes in the region. Nrg and ynet both reported on the survey; but here’s my choice of the interesting highlights with the full poll data linked in. The bottom line is that that Jewish and Arab Israelis are feeling harsh but pragmatic; there are openings in support of peace, but it takes a close reading to find them. The surveys here were conducted for the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institute, a center-liberal leaning think-tank where…Read More... | 11 Comments
The Israeli Knesset is debating a bill proposed by David Rotem of the extreme right Yisrael Beiteinu party that would require all Israeli citizens to swear loyalty to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state.” This bill is targeted at increasing pressure on the 20 percent of Israelis who are Palestinian citizens, while forcing the ultra-Orthodox Jewish minority who reject the legitimacy of any state not based on Jewish biblical law to accept Zionism. If passed in its proposed form, citizens unwilling to take the loyalty oath would be at risk of losing citizenship. Israeli leaders committed to a classic…Read More...
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Full coverage of the BDS movement, international pressure on Israel to end the occupation.
The Beaten Path
Travel writer and tour guide Yuval Ben-Ami deconstructs the Holy Land's tourist trail.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
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