newsIsrael at War

Nearly two-thirds of Israelis think Jewish state will achieve war aims, new Pew study suggests

More than a third of Israeli respondents said that the Jewish state was not going far enough in its military response to Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu receives a briefing at IDF Northern Command Headquarters, May 23, 2024. Photo by Ma'ayan Toaf/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu receives a briefing at IDF Northern Command Headquarters, May 23, 2024. Photo by Ma'ayan Toaf/GPO.

Most Israelis believe that the Israel Defense Forces military response in Gaza has been appropriate and that the Jewish state will achieve its military aims, although Jewish and Arab Israelis are disagree on how the war is going, a new Pew Research Center poll suggests.

Nearly three-quarters of Israelis say that the Jewish state’s military operations against Hamas in Gaza have been appropriate, with 39% saying they have been “about right” and 34% saying that the IDF has not gone far enough. About one-fifth (19%) say that Israel has gone too far.

Some two-thirds of Israelis polled believe that the Jewish state will either “probably” (27%) or “definitely” (40%) succeed in its military goals against the Hamas terror organization. Some 13% think that Israel will “probably fail” and 6% said it would “definitely fail.”

Pew polled 1,001 Israeli adults—both Jewish and Arab—in person between March 3 and April 4. It did so in Hebrew and Arabic. It did not interview residents of Gaza or Judea and Samaria.

The survey was conducted “before U.S. President Joe Biden took a tougher stance toward Israel in the wake of an Israeli airstrike that killed seven World Central Kitchen aid workers,” Pew notes. “And it predates Biden’s declaration that the U.S. would not provide offensive weapons to Israel in the event of a Rafah invasion as well as the subsequent Israeli strikes in Rafah.”

Israelis had mixed reactions to Biden’s approach to the war and the role that the United States ought to play.

While most Israelis said that Washington should play either a major (72%) or minor (16%) diplomatic role in ending the war, just 46% of Israeli Jews and 12% of Israeli Arabs approve of Biden’s approach to the conflict. More than 9 in 10 Jews (91%) have a favorable opinion of the United States, compared to 29% of Israeli Arabs.

Israeli Jews and Arabs also differed on the Jewish state’s handling of the war against Hamas in Gaza, with 74% of Israeli Arabs saying that Israel has gone too far, compared to 4% of Israeli Jews, and 76% of Israeli Jews saying that the Jewish state will achieve its military aims, compared to 38% of Israeli Arabs.

Overall, Israelis polled view Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unfavorably (58%) compared to favorably (41%), with 39% having very unfavorable views and 20% having very favorable views. Some 51% of Israeli Jews had at least a somewhat favorable view of Netanyahu, compared to 7% of Israeli Arabs.

“The share of Israelis who have a somewhat or very unfavorable view of Netanyahu is the largest it has been since the center first started asking the question in 2013,” per Pew.

Most Israelis (57%) had confidence that Biden will do the right thing with respect to world affairs, while 42% did not. That was down from the 68% that had confidence in Biden doing the right thing when polled last year.

More than two-thirds (66%) of Israeli Jews had at least some confidence that Biden would do the right thing, while 77% of Israeli Arabs had “not too much” confidence of “none at all” that he would do the right thing.

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