The Israeli public is split almost evenly between those who support an immediate strike on Iran's nuclear facilities (51%) and those who believe that Israel should wait for the results of US engagement before pursuing alternative paths (49%), a new poll revealed.
The poll, conducted by the Center for Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University from a representative sample of 509 Israeli adults, also found that 81% of the Israeli public believes that Iran
will attain a nuclear bomb and 70% would not consider emigrating from Israel should Iran achieve nuclear capability.
However, according to the poll most Israelis (74%) do not believe that the current American policy of engagement will persuade Iran to change its course.
A major difference exists between right-wing and left-wing Israelis regarding the appropriate Israeli policy. The survey revealed that 38% of those leaning to the left favor an attack, as opposed to 63% of those leaning to the right.
Prof. David Menashri, the director of theCenter for Iranian Studies, suggested that "the violent language used by President Ahmadinejad and his assertion of wiping Israel from the pages of history, in addition to Iranian advancement of its nuclear and ballistic programs, has created a real concern among Israelis.
"The Israeli public statements and talks of 'existential threat' used by Israeli leaders to alert the world of its concern, could only add to popular anxiety. Still, I think it is important to note that half of the population surveyed (49%) still believe a diplomatic venue should be used."
He added, "Ten percent even believe that Israel itself should engage in diplomatic effort with Iran. When few years ago I suggested that it would be an Israeli interest to engage Iran, I was sharply criticized. Clearly the attitude has been changed significantly."