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  • The Palestinian Nakba: Are Israelis starting to get it?

    Israelis are more willing to discuss and accept their country's role in the Palestinian Nakba - until the historical events are portrayed as the story of the founding of a rival nation, and acknowledging those facts means legitimizing the other side's fundamental beliefs. In 2008, a fascinating, little-known study asked 500 Israeli Jews about Israel's behavior throughout the history of the conflict.  The study was conducted by Rafi Nets-Zehngut, at the Teachers College of Columbia University and Daniel Bar-Tal of Tel Aviv University's School of Education. Bar-Tal is an internationally regarded expert in political psychology. Some of the findings were…

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  • Numbers for the president: Israeli attitudes toward Obama

    An examination of Israeli public opinion toward U.S. President Obama and the two-state solution. The picture isn't as bleak as the mainstream media might lead you to believe. As President Obama continues his meetings in the region today, making the rounds to Ramallah and then back to Jerusalem, it is useful to keep in mind some trends regarding public opinion. Here are two specific themes that are relevant for this trip - attitudes towards the two-state solution to which he and his main interlocutors are so committed, and attitudes towards him. Regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Joint Israeli Palestinian Polls…

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  • Polls show Israelis rational about policy, misguided on elections

    It’s easy to disagree with Israelis about many things. But two new polls show that on key current issues, the public is at least thinking rationally and seeing clearly: *On Gaza, the majority know that Israel is no better off after the war in Gaza, and that the ceasefire won’t hold. *On the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the majority supports negotiations, supports the basic outlines of the Arab peace initiative and knows that the Palestinians cannot simply be beaten. *The majority acknowledges discrimination against Arabs in Israel, and a strong majority believes democracy is either more important than Jewishness of the state,…

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  • Poll: Israeli Jews oppose a unilateral strike on Iran

    Most Israelis do not back the Prime Minister and Defense Minister's call for a pre-emptive strike on Iran, but most won't do much to oppose it either. Here are some numbers and thoughts on why.  Just one-quarter of the Jewish public (27 percent) in Israel supports a unilateral Israeli strike on Iran, according to a new Peace Index survey from August 7-8, focused mainly on Iran. Fully 61 percent of the 516 Jewish respondents are against such a strike, with over one-quarter strongly opposed - even a majority on the right is opposed (51 percent). If Prime Minister Netanyahu and…

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  • Can critique of Iran strike by security figures change Israeli public opinion?

    Will Diskin crack Netanyahu's "good for security" armor? A review of public surveys on the Iran issue shows that even prior to the damning critique on Friday by Yuval Diskin, former head of the Internal Security Agency, the public already diverged sharply from the leadership's policy: Survey after survey, as I wrote in March, showed that only a minority – somewhere between 19 percent and 31 percent – favors a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran. The majority – at least half (here's a similar survey in Hebrew), and up to nearly two-thirds (Hebrew) – is against a unilateral attack. There are a few…

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  • Are Israeli Jews avoiding Jerusalem?

    For my column in the Jerusalem Report this week analyzing public opinion, I asked a sample of Israeli Jews a survey question: How often do they visit their beloved city, their holiest of holies, the eternal, undivided capital? After all, the majority of Israeli Jews reject the division of Jerusalem and proclaim everlasting love. But our findings that nearly half almost never visit the city, and the analysis, show that for many it's neither beloved, nor undivided. Jerusalem remains holy - but that's not necessarily a good thing. Here's my column, re-posted courtesy of the Jerusalem Report Magazine.   Avoiding…

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  • What hospital violence in Israel reveals about occupation

    A fascinating study reported in Haaretz today comes to the astounding conclusion that the behavior of medical staff in hospitals is partly responsible for outbursts of violence among patients, impressively reported by the medical staff themselves. Of 705 staff who participated in a survey about the causes of violence, 39 percent, reports Haaretz, said that their own behavior was a contributing factor to a specific incident and nearly half - 48 percent - said that generally staff behavior contributed to such incidents. Another ten percent said violence was linked to prolonged waiting times. The study was conducted by by Sigal…

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  • Polls: Israelis fear unilateral strike more than Iranian bomb

    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…

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  • SURVEYS: Israelis, Palestinians support 2-state - but why bother?

    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…

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  • SURVEY: Palestinian citizens demand social justice

    A new survey of Arab citizens of Israel following waves of anti-Arab activity shows that most have not given up on Israeli society, but instead express strong support for social activism to advance Arab issues, general social problems, and an end to  the occupation. With so much nastiness directed against them, it wouldn’t be surprising if Arab citizens have given up on Israel. But with insufficient polling and reporting on public opinion in the Arab community, it can be hard to know. And this is an important time to know how one-fifth of the population thinks. The current Knesset has…

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  • WATCH: The housing protest - a new national identity?

    A sound and slideshow by Eyal Warshavsky, with national anthem Hatikva as the crescendo, illustrates the powerful sense of a shared national cause emerging from the demonstration last Saturday night. What began as an outcry over high housing prices is taking on ever-larger dimensions, and Israelis of all stripes have rallied to the cause of economic injustice surrounding a range of issues. In the past, wars and security issues have always been the greatest unifying factor of Israeli identity, but there is a powerful bond forming around the protests that could perhaps even transcend left and right. At the 20,000-or…

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  • Survey: Theater helps Israeli youth humanize Palestinians

    It’s unusual to get good news about levels of tolerance toward the other, when it comes to Israelis, Palestinians and the conflict – especially youngsters. As my colleagues and I found in a large study of Israeli youth, intolerance, exclusive and discriminatory attitudes are embraced by a large and perhaps growing numbers of young folks. So this rare, happy finding reported in Haaretz this week caught my eye: A new study found a link between culture and tolerance: Israeli teens who watched plays about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict became more optimistic about the chances of achieving peace and viewed Palestinians more…

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  • End of year poll updates: Israel and Palestine

    Here’s a summary of some of the top quality polling being done by Israelis and Palestinians, about Israelis and Palestinians. From masses of data, I’ve selected highlights addressing two main themes: the Israeli Palestinian conflict, and the state of democracy in both societies. All the data comes from sources I trust. I use names or abbreviations of the surveys, and full information about each is at the end of this post, with links where possible - there's plenty more on most topics that might interest readers of this post. Since I’m drawing from different surveys, the questions are not identical…

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