Poll shows ebbing Israeli support for Iran strike

Survey indicates backing drops even further if US opposed to move; second poll reveals majority of Americans favor deal with Tehran

Haviv Rettig Gur is The Times of Israel's senior analyst.

F-15 jets being refueled in the air. (photo credit: Ofer Zidon/Flash90)
F-15 jets being refueled in the air. (photo credit: Ofer Zidon/Flash90)

Slightly fewer than half of Israelis back the use of a military option against Iran’s nuclear program, with the number dropping even further should the US not lend support for such an action, a poll released Thursday night showed.

At the same time, a separate poll among US citizens showed growing support for a diplomatic deal with Tehran.

The Israeli poll, commissioned by Channel 2 political anchor Nissim Mishal, showed 49.1 percent of Israelis backing a last-resort military strike on Iran, with 43.3% against.

Asked whether they would support a military strike, but with the caveat specifying that the Americans opposed the strike, Israeli attitudes tilted against: 53.5% said they would be against military action, while 39.9% said they would be in favor of an Israeli strike.

Despite Jerusalem’s stance that a military strike may be necessary to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, polls have shown support for such a move steadily dropping.

An Israel Hayom poll released last Friday showed 52.4% of Israelis backing a military strike if Iran and the group of six world powers reached a “bad deal” that let Iran keep enriching uranium; 26.8% were opposed in that poll.

In October, a survey by the same paper found support for a strike as high as 65.6%.

Meanwhile, a CNN poll released Thursday showed that more than half of Americans would support a deal with Iran that curbed, but didn’t end, nuclear enrichment.

While Israel demands any deal include a total halt to enrichment, saying even a small amount could allow Iran to build a nuclear weapon, the six world powers negotiating with Iran in Geneva this week have indicated they are seeking a deal with more modest limits that Tehran would be more likely to accept.

According to the poll, 56% of Americans would accept a deal and 39% would be opposed. CNN polling director Keating Holland said Democrats polled were more likely to support a deal than Republicans.

A second day of talks in Geneva ended Thursday with gaps remaining between the parties, but officials on both sides remain optimistic that an interim agreement may be in the works.

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