Poll: 96% of Israeli Jews won’t give up Western Wall for peace

By Nadav Shargai, Haaretz Correspondent

Ninety-six percent of Israeli Jews are against Israel relinquishing the Western Wall, even in exchange for lasting peace and ending the dispute over Jerusalem, a new poll suggests. According to the poll, most Israeli Jews do not believe territorial concessions in Jerusalem would bring peace.

The poll, performed at the request of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, also reveals that 89 percent of Israeli Jews are unwilling to give up the Temple Mount for a similar arrangement.

The poll, which was performed by the Tazpit Research Institute headed by Dr. Aharon Fein, found that Israeli Jews were far more willing to give up the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, as long as Israel keeps the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter – an arrangement favored by 43 percent of them.

Forty-three percent of participants said they were opposed to any form of concession in Jerusalem for real peace and the termination of the dispute.

In the previous survey on the matter, only 37 percent of the participants were opposed to all forms of territorial concession in Jerusalem.

Religious and ultra-Orthodox participants expressed less willingness for concessions than their secular and traditional counterparts. For example, the survey showed that 76 percent of the religious participants were opposed to territorial concessions, as opposed to 24 percent of secular responders.

Despite the relatively high willingness among participants to give up the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, most participants nonetheless indicated they did not believe such concessions would bring peace. In total, 75.7 percent believe peace is unattainable. Only 20.3 said they believed peace could be reached in return for territorial concessions in Jerusalem.

In addition, 91.5 percent indicated they believed that maintaining a large Jewish majority in Jerusalem was imperative. Some 81.3 percent said they believed that a mostly-Jewish Jerusalem would complement Israel’s moral fortitude. Another 62.4 percent said they believed that Jewish settlement in Ma’aleh Adumim and Gush Etzion serve to strengthen Jerusalem.

Sixty-six percent said the same about settlement west of the city. Some 61.3 percent expressed support for prioritizing Jerusalem so as to strengthen its status and standing.

According to the survey, the majority of Israelis regard Jerusalem as the most beautiful city in Israel. Some 81.4 of the Jerusalemites who participated said they perceived it as such, along with 67.5 of non-Jerusalemites. Despite this, 51.8 percent of Jerusalemites define the city as dirty, opposed to only 30 percent of non-Jerusalemites.

Some 47.3 percent of the Jerusalemites who participated in the poll defined the city as impoverished. Another 54 percent said they believed Jerusalem was gradually becoming more ultra-Orthodox. However, despite their critical approach of their city, only 5.3 of Jerusalemites said they considered it dangerous to visit.

By contrast, non-Jerusalemites appear to be more wary of visiting the city, with 14.5 percent indicating it as a dangerous place to visit.

May 13, 2007 | Comments Off on Poll: 96% of Israeli Jews won’t give up Western Wall for peace

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