Most Israelis want Rafah operation despite US - survey

Joe Biden  credit: Shutterstock
Joe Biden credit: Shutterstock

In a comprehensive survey, "Globes" examines Israelis' view of the war in the Gaza Strip in the context of relations with US President Joe Biden.

"Globes" commissioned a special survey with nearly 1,000 respondents to find out what Israelis think about the war in the Gaza Strip in the context of the country’s relations with the US. Should the IDF go into Rafah despite US opposition? What about humanitarian aid? Should President Biden address the Knesset? The following are the results.

1. In favor of operation in Rafah, despite US opposition

Most of the Israeli public (82%) supports a military operation in the area of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, bordering Egypt. Half of the respondents said that such an operation should go ahead in any circumstances, that is, even if the US opposes it. A fifth were in favor of an operation only if it was coordinated with the US, and 13% were in favor without such coordination, as long as a solution was found to evacuate the Gazan population. Only 10% opposed an operation in Rafah, and the remainder had no view on the matter.

Should Israel carry out a military operation in Rafah even though the US opposes it?

49% - Yes in any circumstances.
20% - Yes, if coordinated with the US.
13% - Yes, even without coordination with the US, as long as a solution is found for evacuating civilians.
10% - Not in any circumstances.
9% - Don’t know.

2. Israelis convinced the state does all it can to avoid harming non-combatants

Almost two-thirds of the public believe that Israel does all it can not to harm civilians in the Gaza Strip. One fifth says Israel "does too much" to protect civilians, on the grounds that there are no innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip, and only 11% say the Israel doesn’t do enough. While most respondents who describe themselves as right-wing and centrist voters hold the view that Israel does all it can to avoid harming civilians, among those who describe themselves as left-wing voters, 44% say the country doesn’t do enough.

What is your view of the claims that Israel is failing to do enough to avoid harming civilians in the Gaza Strip?

62% - Israel does all it can not to harm civilians.
19% - Israel does too much, since there are no "non-combatants" in the Gaza Strip.
11% - Israel does not do enough.
7% - Don’t know.

3. Almost half of Israelis call for humanitarian aid to be conditional on release of hostages

A large proportion of the Israeli public (44%) takes the view that Israel should make humanitarian aid to Gaza Strip residents conditional on a deal for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas. 27% support giving humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip as necessary, among other things because this helps Israel in the international arena. 22% oppose any humanitarian aid.

What’s your view on humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip?

44% - Israel should make aid conditional on a hostage release deal.
27% - Israel should provide all aid necessary, because this is the right thing to do, and because it helps Israel internationally.
22% - Israel should provide no humanitarian aid while the war continues.
7% - Don’t know.

4. Israelis believe President Biden stands by Israel, but are divided about his statements

The involvement of US President Joe Biden in the war causes disagreement among Israelis. 37% of respondents say that, although Biden supports Israel, he is in an election period and so his statements have to be understood with that in mind. A third of the Israeli public, mainly right-wing voters, thinks Israel should not take Biden’s stance into account at all. A fifth believes that Israel should take Biden’s stance into account, given his extensive support for the country, and 11% have no view on the matter.

Which of the following sentences most closely represents your view of US President Biden?

37% - Biden is a friend of Israel, but he’s in an election period and his statements have to be understood in that context.
31% - With all due respect to Biden, Israel has to act independently and needn’t take his opinions into account.
21% - Biden is a great friend of Israel, and has given us a great deal of aid, and so we should consider his opinions.
11% - Don’t know.

5. Half the public wants to see Biden speak in the Knesset

President Biden declared in an interview last week that he would like to speak in the Knesset. Despite the divided views over his stance towards Israel, half of the respondents support the idea, and only about a quarter oppose it. Among right-wing voters there is a slim majority of 42% in favor versus 37% against, while among centrist and left-wing voters there is a large majority in favor.

Should President Biden be allowed to address the Knesset?

50% - Yes.
26% - No.
24% - Don’t know.

6. Half oppose a diplomatic solution at this stage; 40% support one

President Biden has declared several times that a diplomatic solution should be promoted for the day after the war. 37% of the respondents in the survey agree with him, but 36% say that as long as Israel is fighting in the Gaza Strip and there is no deal for the release of the hostages, there should be no moves towards a diplomatic solution at this stage. 14% say that Israel should in any event control the Gaza Strip in the future, and should not be looking for diplomatic solutions.

President Biden argues that a diplomatic solution should be promoted for "the day after" in the Gaza Strip, and believes that a normalization agreement can be reached between Israel and Saudi Arabia. What is your view on that?

36% - Biden is wrong. As long as we are fighting and there’s no hostage release deal, there is no room for a diplomatic solution.
23% - Biden is right. The question of "the day after" mustn’t be neglected even if there is no hostage release deal.
14% - Israel should control the Gaza Strip for years ahead, and shouldn’t be looking for diplomatic solutions at this stage.
14% - Biden is right, we should talk about "the day after", but the solution should not include any kind of Palestinian involvement.
12% - Don’t know.

7. 42% agree with Biden’s criticism of Netanyahu

President Biden sharpened his tone against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, saying that he was "hurting Israel more than helping Israel." According to the survey, 42% of the Israeli public agree with him, while 37% disagree. Among right-wing voters, a fifth agree with the US president, while among left-wing voters 80% agree, and among centrist voters 68% agree.

What is your view of President Biden’s statement that Netanyahu’s conduct of the war is hurting Israel more than helping it?

42% - Biden is right.
37% - Biden is wrong.
21% - Don’t know.

8. Israelis want war to continue

Most of the Israeli public thinks that the war in the Gaza Strip should continue. 41% say that this should happen regardless of world opinion, while 40% say that world opinion should be taken into account. Only 11% say that the fighting should be ended because of criticism around the world.

To what extent do you believe that Israel should continue with the war even at the price of deepening Israel’s isolation internationally?

41% - Israel should only be concerned about itself. The fighting should continue regardless of its situation in the world.
40% - Israel should continue fighting, but has to take its situation in the world into account.
11% - Israel must take its situation in the world into account, and stop the fighting.
8% - Don’t know.

Survey method

The survey was carried out by research firm Shiluv, headed by Israel Oleinik. The sample consisted of 989 men and women aged 18 and over, a random, representative nationwide sample of residents of the State of Israel. The survey was carried out via the Internet, using a computerized system, between March 12 and March 13, 2024, from among a panel of Internet surfers, iPanel.

Surveys reported from time to time in the press and media are generally carried out on a sample of 500 respondents. In order to give greater depth and breadth, we carried out a survey with twice that number of participants. This considerably increases the reliability of the findings, and reduces the maximum sampling error to +/- 3.1%.

Among the reasons that Shiluv was selected to carry out the survey was the fact that it does not do surveys of voting intentions and does not work with politicians. We were particular about this in order to make the survey more credible, and to avoid accusations of political bias. All surveys commissioned by "Globes" include Israel’s Arab population, and this one is no exception. Because of the complexity and length of the questionnaire, it was translated into Arabic for the benefit of Arabic-speaking respondents.

Because of the effect of rounding, the responses to some questions do not add up to 100%.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on March 17, 2024.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2024.

Joe Biden  credit: Shutterstock
Joe Biden credit: Shutterstock
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