Most Jewish Israelis reject an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities without US cooperation, according to a new survey. A solid majority also thinks that the belligerent rhetoric constantly emanating from Jerusalem is merely a ploy to push the White House to act more forcefully on the Iranian question, the survey found.
While 11 percent “strongly support” an Israeli preemptive attack on Iran that was not previously coordinated with Washington, nearly 30 percent “strongly oppose” such a move, according to a new survey by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University. Overall, 6 out of 10 Jewish Israelis are against an Israel strike on Iran without the US by its side, the survey — called the Peace Index — found.
“On this matter, there are large gaps between the political camps: while 82% of those defining themselves as on the political-security left are opposed to Israel attacking Iran alone, 67.5% of those who define themselves as ‘center’ are opposed to such an attack, and only 51% of those who position themselves on the right are opposed,” according to the Peace Index website.
However, a majority of respondents felt such a move is unlikely and, if it indeed happened, had little chance of halting Iran’s nuclearization for a significant time. Yet three quarters of those surveyed said that a military strike could delay Iranian nuclear weapons capability if it were done in coordination with the US.
Sixty percent of respondents agreed that it is “impossible to prevent Iran from nuclearizing in the long term,” and that Israel should accept this reality and devise a defense strategy based on the assumption that it is not the only nuclear power in the Middle East. Thirty-five percent disagreed.
The survey also showed that a majority of Israeli Jews believe that threats of military action by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are “just a bluff aimed at pressuring the Americans to act more resolutely against the Iranian threat.” Nearly 57 percent agreed with that theory, while only 30 said Israel’s belligerent statements “reflect a real intention to attack.”
“The rate of those who see this as an attempted bluff by Barak and Netanyahu that is aimed at pressuring the Americans is especially high in the center (68%), compared to 54% on the left and 50% on the right,” according to the Peace Index website.
The Peace Index further suggests that Jewish Israelis have more confidence in the security echelon than the country’s political leaders. Respondents were asked if they rely more on the assessment of senior members of Israel’s security establishment — including the IDF chief of staff and the heads of the Mossad and the Shin Bet security service — who reportedly oppose an Israeli strike on Iran, or on that of Netanyahu or Barak, who seem to favor an attack before Iran reaches nuclear weapons capability. Some 28 percent said they trust the politicians more in this regard, while 57 percent said they put their faith in the security officials.
The Peace Index is based on the responses of 516 respondents, who were surveyed in July and early August.