WASHINGTON – Two thirds of Israeli Jews are willing to give up Israel's nuclear weapons in return for Iran giving up its own program, a survey published on Thursday claimed.
According to the findings, released by Saban Center for Middle East Policy, 65% of Israeli Jews preferred if neither Israel nor Iran to held nuclear arms, and opted for a nuclear-free Middle East. In contrast, some 19% of repondents said they want both countries to have nuclear capabilities.
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Asked a series of questions about the Israeli-Arab conflict, some two thirds of respondents said the government must promote a comprehensive peace plan, based on 1967 borders, with a demilitarized Palestinian state. Some 71% said they agreed with a definition of Israel as "the homeland of the Jewish people and all its citizens."
The survey was published ahead of the Saban Forum that will open in Washington on Thursday, and is expected to draw senior American and Israeli officials including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Opposition chairwoman Tzipi Livni, and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
Is Iran developing nukes? 90% of Israeli Jews said 'yes' (Photo: EPA)
The survey also indicated that the Israeli public is split over pursuing a military option in the Islamic Republic – Some 43% of Israeli Jewish respondents said they support a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, while 41% opposed it. Among the Israeli Arab public, 68% opposed military action while only 4% supported it.
Asked whether they believed Tehran had an intention to develop nuclear weapons, 90% of Israeli Jews responded affirmatively, while only 47% of Israeli Arabs thought the same.
However, among the Israeli Arab population, 48% believed that a nuclear Iran will have negative influence on the Middle East, compared with only 17% that said it will have a positive affect.
Surprisingly, when asked about their satisfaction with US President Barack Obama, most Israelis, who held a negative view of the president in 2010 (51% compared with 41%) seemed to have changed their minds.
At least 54% of Israeli Jews held a positive view of Obama, while only 39% expressed a negative view. However, 39% of respondents also said they were disappointed with Obama's policy in the Middle East, while 22% said they were encouraged by it and 35% expressed no stance.
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