Seventeen years have passed since the State of Israel
experienced one of the most traumatic events in its history – the political murder of a prime minister by a citizen. Has the lesson been learned?
A Ynet-Gesher poll reveals that half of the public believes the lesson has not been learned and that there is a moderate to high chance of another political murder.
The survey was conducted by the Panels research institute through the Panel4all Internet panel among 510 respondents – a representative sample of the adult population in the State of Israel's Jewish communities (maximum sampling error: 4.4%).
The first question the survey asked was: "In your opinion, what is the chance of another political murder to take place in Israel?" Four percent answered "a very high chance," 18.3% said "high" and 28% said "moderate" – a total of 51%.
On the other hand, 42% believe there is a small chance of another political murder, and 7% of respondents said "there is no chance at all."
An analysis according to religious affiliation definitions reveals that the majority of the secular public believes the chance of another political murder is moderate to very high (64%), while most ultra-Orthodox, religious and traditional Jews estimate that there are small or nonexistent chances of that happening (60%, 71% and 55%, respectively).
In another section of the survey, 70% of respondents said it was important to mark the anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's
assassination, including 51.5% who said it was needed in order to renounce violence and strengthen unity among the people, and 18.5% who believe that the day of the murder should be marked in order to perpetuate the slain prime minister's memory and legacy.
Twenty-four percent, on the other hand, believe that marking the anniversary of the murder is not important – 17.5% explained that the day was "biased and used for political purposes", and 14.5% said they just don't feel any solidarity. The remaining respondents offered no opinion on the matter.
Rally marking murder's 17th anniversary (Photo: Yaron Brener)
An analysis of the results revealed that most secular, traditional and religious Jews view the memorial day as important (84%, 69% and 57%, respectively), while among haredim the most common response was that it was not important (46%).
Seventy-four percent of respondents said the murder's anniversary should convey a message "denouncing any type of violence," while 8% said it must focus on "advancing the peace process." The rest of the respondents chose "other" or "I don't know."
In each of the groups – seculars, traditional Jews, religious Jews and haredim – the majority was in favor of the first option.
The Rabin assassination led to strong polarization and hatred within the Israeli society. According to the survey, 17 years after the murder, 57% of respondents believe that the ultra-Orthodox public is the most disliked, 13% said settlers top the list of hated sectors, 5% mentioned immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and 3.5% think that Tel Aviv residents are hated the most. The remaining respondents did pick a sector.
The estimate that ultra-Orthodox Jews are the most hated public is shared by all groups – from seculars to haredim.
And who is most responsible for the split in society?
Forty-one percent of respondents chose the media, 27% blamed politicians, 17% mentioned rabbis as responsible for polarization, and 4% pointed a finger at intellectuals. The others did not respond.
Most Haredi, religious and traditional Jews mentioned the media as responsible for the split (74%, 73% and 50%, respectively), while most seculars are divided between politicians (38%) and rabbis (31%).
The question concluding asked which sector contributes the most to the Israeli society. Twenty-three percent chose the settlers, 15% - kibbutz members, 7% - haredim, 7% - Tel Aviv residents, 6% - immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and 42% did not choose any sector.
An analysis of the results shows that the most common answer among haredim was that they are the ones who contribute the most to society (34%), religious and traditional Jews chose settlers (57% and 26%, respectively), and the seculars chose kibbutz members (23%).
Ilan Geal-Dor, CEO of the Gesher Foundation which works to bridge the gaps between different segments of the Israeli society, said in response to the poll that the process the Israeli society has been going through since the murder points to a development in the culture of dialogue.
"Although there is no real fear of another political murder, there are still rifts that should be mended. We at Gesher believe that society can be strengthened only through a dialogue between the different factions, which will strengthen a Jewish democratic country that gives room to a variety of opinions."