A poll conducted on behalf of Gesher, a non-profit organization, in the days leading up to the 11th anniversary of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination reveals that 47.7 percent of the Israeli public believes that the disengagement from Gaza caused the greatest national rift.
According to the poll, only 38.8 percent said Rabin's murder was the most polarizing event in the country's history, with the bombing of the Altalena placing third at 3.6 percent.
According to the poll, those responsible for polarizing the public are first and foremost the politicians (42.1 percent), the media (39.4 percent) and finally the Rabbis (9.2 percent), the remaining 15.9 percent were undecided.
The poll also indicates that the most disliked group within the general population are the Haredim with 37 percent of Israelis stating they dislike them. Far behind are new immigrants from the former Soviet Union (15.2 percent), settlers (12.6 percent), kibbutzniks (7.4 percent) and people from the Tel-Aviv area (3.1 percent.
The poll also asked which group people saw as contributing the most to society – kibbutzniks take the lead with 20.1 percent, followed by settlers (16.2 percent), Tel-Avivians (11.9 percent), immigrants from the former Soviet Union (11.7 percent) and finally Haredim (7.7 percent).
Red light for politiciansThe survey was conducted by a branding company which polled 528 Israelis who represent an accurate sampling of the adult Hebrew speaking Jewish population.
These results should serve as a red light for politicians and national leaders who must completely alter their direction and pull a 180, says Shoshi Becker, CEO of Gesher.
"Besides the fact that the public sees them as responsible for sowing the hate," says Becker of politicians, "they should also be concerned about the polarization evident in the results. From our 35 years of experience we know that hate and demonization only evolve in a place where there is no room for common experience. The Gesher organization decided to designate Rabin's memorial day to a day of dialogue within the Israeli society to mend the split and prevent the next murder."
Teenagers, soldiers and ordinary citizens will arrive at the annual 'Dialogue Tent' in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, meeting will be held between youths and other citizens throughout the day, with lectures from Education Minister Yuli Tamir, academics, Rabbis, media figures and film screenings.