SURVEY: Support for Judea and Samaria rising among Israelis; Israelis less divided 

SURVEY: Support for Judea and Samaria rising among Israelis; Israelis less divided 

A new Pew Survey reported that Israeli interest in resettling the Biblical heartland is rising due to security concerns. 

Pew surveyed 1,001 Israelis, all over 18, face-to-face between March 3 and April 4. It did so in Hebrew and Arabic but was unable to poll people in G

The survey revealed a significant increase among Israelis for supporting Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. It noted that Jewish Israelis were likely to see new communities in Judea and Samaria as helpful to Israeli security (49% in 2024 compared to 31% in 2013).  35% say that the Israeli settlements detract from Israeli security.  21% think settlements don’t significantly affect the country’s security.

The issue has a strong religious element. Among self-identified Haredim (“ultra-Orthodox” Jews) and Datiim (“religious” Jews), 85% say that the continued building of settlements helps Israeli security, and 57% of Masortim (“traditional” Jews) agree.

Among Hilonim (“secular” Jews), just 21% say settlements help security, while a 47% plurality view settlements as harmful in this regard. Masortim and Hilonim are less likely to offer opinions on this question than Haredim or Datiim.

Israeli adults who place themselves on the ideological right are particularly likely to view settlements as helping Israel’s security (68%). In comparison, those in the center (17%) and on the left (9%) are much less likely to share this viewpoint. Among those on the left, about seven in ten say the continued building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank hurts Israeli security.

The Biden administration declared in February that these settlements are “illegitimate” under international law. In 2019,  US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared them not “inconsistent with international law.” 

The survey also revealed that Israeli society is much less divided than it used to be.  Israelis are also less likely to see intense conflict between religious and non-religious Jews (18% compared to 29%), and among those on the political left and right (24% to 32%) in 2024, compared to 2023.

The survey also noted that Jewish Israelis were less likely in 2024 to believe that an independent Palestinian state could coexist alongside Israel, 19% as compared to 32% in 2023.

Some 94% of Jewish Israelis were at least somewhat concerned about violence against Jews in Judea and Samaria, and 70% were “extremely” or “very” worried. Sixty-seven percent of Arab Israelis were at least somewhat concerned about violence against Jews in Judea and Samaria, with 43% expressing extreme concern. 

Those numbers flipped concerning Arab safety in Judea and Samaria. Some 93% of Arabs were at least somewhat concerned about violence against Arabs in Judea and Samaria (73% were “extremely” or “very” worried). In comparison, just 39% of Jewish Israelis had that concern at least somewhat (and just 19% were very worried).

In other ways, Pew reported significant divides between Jewish and Arab Israelis, including the belief that the national government is doing what’s in the country’s best interest. Some 61% of Jewish Israelis (up from 53% in 2017) had that trust in the national government, while Arab Israelis were less likely (23%) to do so compared to in 2017 (44%).

Jewish Israelis were also likelier in 2024 (93%) than in 2007 (77%) to say that the Israel Defense Forces was having a “very” or “somewhat good” impact on how things are going in the state, while the number of Arab Israelis who thought the Israeli military is having at least a “somewhat good” influence dropped from 57% in 2007 to 34% in 2024, according to Pew’s data.

According to the new Pew data, Jewish (74%) and Arab (9%) Israelis had the most favorable views of Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, within the coalition government, followed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—whom 51% of Israeli Jews saw favorably, compared to 7% of Arab Israelis—and then Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich (45% favorable among Jews and 5% among Arabs) and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir (42% and 1%, respectively). National Unity Party leader Benny Gantz had a 56% favorability rating among Jewish Israelis and 30% among Arab Israelis.

Pew Research Center’s survey in Israel was conducted as a part of the Spring 2024 Global Attitudes Survey. Results for the Spring 2024 Global Attitudes Survey are based on telephone, face-to-face, and online interviews conducted under the direction of Gallup, Langer Research Associates, Social Research Centre and Verian.

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