INSS published a detailed analysis of Israeli Public Opinion. Keep in mind that Israelis are subject to a predominently leftist spin. Much could change with an election campaign in which the issues are more fully aired.
The main findings begin as follows;
The Israeli center â€“ sometimes known as the silent majority â€“ remains strong and steady. Over half of the Jewish population in Israel can be broadly described as belonging to the center. There is little homogeneity in any group, including the extremes of the spectrum; moreover, the hard core extreme right as well as the hard core extreme left are marginal, each consisting of no more than 10 percent of the population. There is a good deal of flexibility in Israeli public opinion, what allows under certain circumstances â€“ especially strong and charismatic political leadership or some dramatic event â€“ considerable room for change.
At the same time, over the past three years there has been a high degree of consistency in the basic attitudes and opinions of the adult Jewish population in Israel regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and possible solutions. The results of the survey completed in late March 2007 are of particular interest, as they reflect the impact of the past year’s events on Israeli public opinion, and specifically the Second Lebanon War. The data confirms that basic attitudes and opinions did not change dramatically as a result of the 2006 war in Lebanon, although there were some far-reaching changes on a small number of specific issues.
Overall, Israelis remain hawkish on security but dovish on political issues, manifesting a readiness for territorial compromise and concessions in the context of a permanent settlement and an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At the same time, relative to 2005 and 2006, there was a shift to the right on a number of issues, in the range of 5 to 13 percent, but on most issues moderate positions still enjoyed majority support, even if somewhat reduced. [It goes without saying that such hawkish vies are in conflict with the dovish views. I submit mush as they would like to compromise for peace, the hawkish sentiment will win the day.]
[..] The ultra-Orthodox and the religious were the most hawkish, the secular population had the most moderate positions, and the traditionalists were in the middle.
In 2007, support for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza was 55 percent, down from 61 percent in 2006; support for the solution of â€œtwo states for two peoplesâ€ was 63 percent, down from 70 percent in 2006. Nonetheless, both propositions still enjoy a clear
majority among the Jewish public. One major change surfaced with regard to unilateralism, which suffered a major blow and has fallen from favor with the Jewish public.
Demography continues to dominate over geography. Respondents were asked to rank four key values in order of importance:
a. a country with a Jewish majority
b. Greater Israel
c. a democratic country
d. a state of peace
For over twenty years, the value ranked as the most important has been a Jewish majority. In 2006, for the first time, an absolute majority of the Jewish population (54 percent) listed it as the most important value, vs. only 7 percent who chose Greater Israel as the preeminent value. The
corresponding numbers for 2007 are 50 percent and 9 percent. In 2006 and 2007, 72 percent and 71 percent, respectively, chose â€œa country with a Jewish majorityâ€ as â€œthe most importantâ€ or â€œthe second most importantâ€ value, vs. 27 percent and 29, respectively, who named Greater Israel as their priority value. The dramatic similarity of the findings demonstrates that we are dealing with a fundamental and consistent parameter of Israeli public opinion.
The prioritization of demography over geography is manifest in the readiness to evacuate certain settlements in the West Bank. Support for removal of all the settlements, including the large settlement blocs, was negligible â€“ 18 percent in 2006 and 14 percent in 2007. However, 46 percent in 2006 and 45 percent in 2007 supported the removal of all the small and isolated settlements. Taken together, 64 percent in 2006 and 59 percent in 2007 were ready to evacuate certain settlements in the West Bank in the context of a permanent settlement. [..]