Pew Poll: Israelis Want Yehudah and Shomron, But Not the Arabs There

YERUSHALAYIM -
General view of the Samaria settlement of Ariel, on January 17, 2014. Photo by Flash 90.
General view of the Shomron community of Ariel. (Flash90)

A new poll by the Pew Research Center shows that nearly half of Israelis believe that Israelis must remain in Yehudah and Shomron – but that Israel did not need the Arabs living there, or in Israel proper, for that matter.

According to the poll, 42 percent of Israeli Jews said that the settlements were “helpful” for security or other purposes, while 30 percent said they were “harmful” for peace or security. The large majority of Israelis who identified themselves as being on the right – 62 percent – held the helpful view, while only 12 percent on the left did. Among those on the right, only 29 percent said that they believed Israel could live peacefully alongside a Palestinian state, while 86 percent of those on the left said that such a situation was possible. Only 10 percent of Jews believe the current Palestinian leadership is interested in peace, the poll found.

But the blockbuster result, according to the poll, was the willingness of Israelis to agree to the removal of Arabs from their midst. Roughly half of Israeli Jews (48 percent) say Arabs should be transferred or expelled from Israel, while a similar share (46 percent) disagree with this, the poll found.

“In addition, Israeli Jews and Arabs disagree on whether the country can be a Jewish state and a democracy at the same time. About three-quarters (76 percent) of Israeli Jews believe this to be possible, but relatively few Israeli Arabs (27 percent) agree,” Pew said.

“Together, Israel and the U.S. are home to about 80 percent of Jews globally, and there are strong bonds between the world’s two largest Jewish populations. Most Israeli Jews feel they share a common destiny with U.S. Jews and think U.S. Jews have a good influence on Israeli affairs,” the poll found as well.

The poll was based on an extensive survey of more than 5,000 Israelis, conducted in late 2014 and early 2015, the organization said.