Almost half of Israel’s Jews think the country’s political left isn’t patriotic, finds the latest poll of the Israel Democracy Institute’s Peace Index, in a survey that shows a public continuing to hold attitudes that favor the current right-wing government.
According to the poll, 48% of Israeli Jews don’t believe leftists are loyal to the country, as opposed to 43% who do, which the survey’s authors describe as “not surprising, though worrisome from a democratic standpoint.” Similar public attitudes appeared to be reflected in the numbers on criticizing the government in times of security threat, which 52.5 percent of Israelis polled said was “illegitimate.”
Israel’s left, which advocates a two-state solution and a freeze or slowdown in West Bank settlement building, has been moribund since the breakdown of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians that started in the ‘90’s and collapsed in the Second Intifada. The Labor Party, the main faction representing the left, has not helmed a government for more than 15 years.
The poll’s other findings also contained ill portents for the Israeli left. According to the survey, more Israeli Jews than not — 44 percent to 38 percent — now favor the annexation of the West Bank. Forty-eight percent of those who favored annexation said that absorbing the entire West Bank would not require giving Palestinians equal rights of citizenship, compared to 42 percent who said it would. As the authors summarized it, this means that “a small but significant minority of the Jewish public supports a situation that the international community regards as apartheid.”
Daniel J. Solomon is the Assistant to the Editor/News Writer at the Forward. Originally from Queens, he attended Harvard as an undergraduate, where he wrote his senior thesis on French-Jewish intellectual history. He is excited to have returned to New York after his time in Massachusetts. Daniel’s passions include folk music, cycling, and pointed argument.