A new poll published by Ariel University shows that the number of Israelis who support maintaining Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria (Shomron) is shrinking. However, a majority still oppose a major withdrawal in the region.
Israelis are increasingly coming to see Judea and Samaria communities as a financial burden, and are growing less likely to see them as necessary for security, according to the survey, which tracked trends in responses as well as the current public sentiment.
A growing number of Israelis see the communities as an “obstacle to peace.” Fewer see Israelis living in Judea and Samaria as being “like any other Israeli citizen.”
Forty-eight percent of respondents described themselves as “right wing” politically, down from 57%. An increasing number said they were “centrist” or “left wing.”
Respondents were also asked about their opinion on what Israel should do with its communities in Judea and Samaria. While the survey found a decrease in support for annexation of all of Judea and Samaria, more Israelis said they supported annexing just part of the region.
The most dramatic changes pollsters noted were a more than two-fold increase in the number of respondents who said they support a large-scale withdrawal from Judea and Samaria – from 10% to 23% - and a major decrease in the number who said they oppose the demolition of any Israeli community in the region (24%, down from 46%).
When asked if Israel should “fight to the end against the hilltop youth and Jewish lawbreakers in Judea and Samaria,” 37% of respondents said “yes,” compared to 22% in a previous poll.
The poll found an increase in support among Israelis for transferring Israeli-Arab communities to Palestinian Authority control under a future peace deal. There was also an increase in demand for the PA to respect Jewish rights in Judea and Samaria, with more Israelis saying the PA should be willing to accept Israelis living in the region as citizens, and should guarantee continued Jewish access to Jewish holy sites.