Which government will succeed in advancing the peace process while safeguarding Israel’s interests in the context of negotiations with the different Arab actors? According to the War and Peace Index published on Ynet, 35% of the public said a Netanyahu-led government was best fit for the job.
A government headed by Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni got the vote of 25% of the public, while only 6% opted for a Barak-headed government as the one that would best succeed in fulfilling this task.
Among the rest, 15% said all the possibilities were “the same” in their eyes and 20% responded that they did not know or had no clear position on the matter.
The researchers that conducted the poll said that despite the economic situation, foreign and defense issues continued to determine which party the Israeli Jewish public will decide to vote for.
A segmentation of the answers to this question revealed that Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu has a clear advantage among voters for Likud (65%), Shas (71%), Yisrael Beiteinu (65%), the National Religious Party (44%), and Torah Judaism (42%). In addition, he has not inconsiderable support (31%) among Kadima voters.
Tzipi Livni mainly has support from voters for Kadima (41%), Labor (40%), Meretz (65%), and the Pensioners (50%).
As for Labor Chairman Ehud Barak, even in his own party his rate of support is no higher than 19%, primarily because of the “defection” of Labor voters to Kadima (as noted, 40%). It should be emphasized, though, that the survey was conducted two days before the Labor Party’s internal elections and the list that was elected could change this picture.
58% support Palestinian state
The index further showed a solid majority among the Jewish public of 58% (vs. 36%) who support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, and a slightly larger majority (61% vs. 35%) who see the Palestinians’ claim to an independent state of their own as justified.
Moreover, a clear majority, though a bit smaller - 53% compared to 38% - also say that in the framework of a peace agreement with the Palestinians, Israel could allow itself to agree to an independent Palestinian state’s creation.
This structure of positions among the Jewish public is important and interesting in light of the widespread suspicion of the Palestinians’ intentions.
About two-thirds (63%) expressed agreement with the statement that “In reality, most of the Palestinians do not accept the existence of the State of Israel and would destroy it if they could, despite the fact that the PLO leadership is conducting peace negotiations with Israel.” Only 20% disagreed with the claim.
A segmentation of the answers to this question with the question on personal support or opposition to establishing an independent Palestinian state reveals, as expected, that among those who agree that the Palestinians would eradicate Israel if they could, the rate of those favoring a Palestinian state is lower than among those who disagree with that claim.
Most of the Jewish public is prepared to accept the idea of an independent Palestinian state while, at the same time, assuming that the Palestinians’ intentions toward Israel are not to accept its existence but rather to destroy it.
The survey also showed that the public is split almost exactly down the middle - 46% on each side -regarding the rightness of the statement that any government that is formed after the elections will eventually reach a final settlement with the Palestinians.
On the other hand, a 57% majority was found who disagree with the statement that any government that is formed after the elections will eventually agree to a compromise with the Palestinians on the issue of Jerusalem.
The War and Peace Index is funded by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research and the Evens Program in Mediation and Conflict Resolution of Tel Aviv University. The telephone interviews were conducted by the B. I. Cohen Institute of Tel Aviv University on 1-3 December 2008 and included 598 interviewees who represent the adult population of Israel (including the territories and the kibbutzim). The sampling error for a sample of this size is 4.5%.