Bintel Blog

Israelis Believe Their Country Has Become Safer

By Nathan Jeffay

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One of the most interesting phenomena regarding Israel’s security situation is how differently Israelis perceive it than many who live abroad.

A year ago, this writer was sent by a British newspaper to cover the Paul McCartney concert in Tel Aviv. The commissioning editor was not interested in the music or the performance. He just wanted a running update of how many people had pulled a gun at various points throughout the performance.

The contrast between this image of ultra-dangerous Israel and the country as its citizens perceive it is underscored by a new piece of research. Tel Aviv University’s monthly public opinion research project, the War and Peace Index, asked Israelis to describe the level of national security. Some 38% described it as high, 37% as medium, and just 22% as low.

The figures indicate that Israelis believe their country has become safer in the last two-and-a-half years. In April 2007 24.5% described national security as high, 36% as medium, and just 39% as low.

People also feel greater personal security than in April 2007. Back then, 42.5% rated their personal security as high, 42.5% as medium and 24% as low. In the new poll, the figures are 49%, 29% and 19% respectively.

Despite all the talk of a possible attack on Iran, some 48% of respondents to the poll see a low or very low chance in the next five years of an all-out attack on Israel by one or more Arab states. A large minority of 44% sees a high or very high chance of such an attack while 10% do not know.

If war does come, most Israelis believe they are in good hands. Asked about the Israeli army’s ability to cope with the military threats 85% rely or very much rely on it to defend the state of Israel and its citizens successfully in the event of an attack by Arab states.

Nevertheless, a large majority of Israelis, 72%, say that the need to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is very urgent or moderately urgent, compared to only 24% who do not see it that way. People across the political spectrum take this view, with a surprisingly narrow discrepancy between different shades — 82% on the left, 79% in the center and 66% on the right.



Comments
Lbnaz Fri. Sep 11, 2009

Oh please don't tease, tell us which commissioning editor of which British newspaper "was not interested in the music or the performance", but "just wanted a running update of how many people had pulled a gun at various points throughout the [Mc Cartney Tel Aviv] performance".

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