Most Israelis consider Jerusalem divided, poll finds

Israel Democracy Institute survey also shows Jews don’t believe discrimination against Arabs motivates terror attacks

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

An Israeli Border Police guard seen at the road block set up at the entrance to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, on October 14, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
An Israeli Border Police guard seen at the road block set up at the entrance to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, on October 14, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Most Israelis believe Jerusalem is a divided city rather than a unified capital, according to a poll released Sunday by the Israel Democracy Institute.

The think tank’s monthly Peace Index poll found that “a clear majority of Jewish Israelis, 61 percent, thinks Jerusalem is divided into a western and eastern city.”

By comparison, when the IDI first asked that question in 1999, 49% of respondents said the city was not divided, as opposed to 44% who said it was.

Western Jerusalem is predominately Jewish while the city’s eastern half, captured from Jordan during the 1967 Six Day War, is mostly inhabited by Arab residents.

The percentage of Israelis who see the city as divided is much higher among Israeli supporters of left-wing parties: 88.5% and 85% among voters of the Zionist Union and Meretz, respectively.

“Likud voters were split on the question (49% for each view),” the abstract said. “Some 47% of Arab Israelis think it is divided.”

Concerning the motivation for Palestinian terrorist attacks, which have plagued the city since violence surged in October, most Jews responded that there was no connection between discrimination against Arabs and attacks against Israelis.

A majority of the Jewish Israeli public (57%) said there was “no connection between discrimination in the areas of health, education and other services against Arab Israelis and these residents’ recent involvement in attacks against Israeli Jews,” the IDI reported.

By contrast, a majority of Israeli Arabs (52%) disagreed and said there is a connection.

Twenty-nine Israelis and three foreign nationals have been killed in a wave of Palestinian terrorism and violence since October. Some 180 Palestinians have also been killed, about two-thirds of them while attacking Israelis, and the rest during clashes with troops, according to the Israeli army.

The vast majority of Israelis polled (90%) said the IDF was operating morally to combat terrorism, and half disagreed with IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot’s recent call for restraint where possible.

The survey, conducted at the end of February, polled 600 respondents over the age of 18 and had a 4.1% margin of error with 95% confidence.

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