Jewish girl raises Israeli flag at the Israeli village of Avnei Hefetz, Samaria
Jewish girl raises Israeli flag at the Israeli village of Avnei Hefetz, SamariaGili Yaari/Flash 90

The majority of Israeli Jews (52%) believe Israel should not give up more territory in Judea and Samaria, according to a new Peace Index survey, saying they would vote against such a move in a national referendum were it to be held.

In contrast, just 36% of those polled said that they would vote for a withdrawal, other than from the "major settlements blocs" such as Gush Etzion and Ma'ale Adumim.

The Arab public's views were, unsurprisingly, rather different: 69% said that if a referendum were held they would vote to withdraw.

The survey also covered a range of other questions, which reflected a clear split in opinions between Israel's Jewish majority and Arab minority.

On some topics there was some agreement, however. For example, when asked if they favored holding a plebiscite in the first place, 59% of Israeli Jews - together with 73% of Israeli Arabs - favored holding a referendum on whether Israel should withdraw from Judea and Samaria, as long as it would be part of a final status agreement with the Palestinians.

Another fact gleaned from the poll is that most Israelis do not actually know what the "Green Line" is. 

Those surveyed were asked whether they thought the following sentence is true or false: "The Green Line is the border line of Israel which was established with the ceasefire agreement signed at the end of the War of Independence in 1949."

Only 15% of Israeli Jews were "sure" the sentence was correct, while another 33% said they "thought" it was. In contrast, 39% were either sure or fairly sure that the statement was incorrect, whereas 13% other didn't know or refused to answer.

In contrast, 63% of Israeli Arabs polled were either sure or "thought" the statement was correct - 42% of whom were sure.

It should be noted however that the wording of that question is somewhat misleading, as the Green Line was never in fact an internationally-recognized border, but the de-facto armistice lines based on the positions of Jewish and Arab forces at the time of the 1949 ceasefire.

However, there were many more disagreements than agreements between the two populations as a whole.

While a slim majority (51%) of Israeli Jews, for example, believed that all citizens of Israel should have a right to vote in a referendum over whether to expel all Jews from Judea and Samaria, a large minority (44%) said they thought Arab citizens should be excluded from deciding the fate of Jewish communities there. 

Beyond their opinions of what should happen vis-a-vis Judea and Samaria, when asked what they thought the future held in practice, 37.5% of Jews said it would remain as it is now, 20% believed the international community would force Israel to withdraw to the pre-1967 lines, while the same proportion believed that Israel would annex the region without providing full national rights to the Palestinian Arabs living there. A small minority (9%) believed that Israel would annex it and give all Arabs there full voting rights. 

Among Israeli Arabs, 45% believed the current status-quo would continue.

When asked which of those outcomes they believed was most desirable, 23% of Israeli Jews favored the current status-quo, 12% supported giving in to international pressure and withdrawing totally, 32% supported annexation without granting full citizenship to Palestinians, and 19% favored annexation and full citizenship for Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria (essentially a binational state.)

Among Israeli Arabs, the picture was again different, though not necessarily as drastically so as one might suspect.

35% of Israeli Arabs believed that Israel should cave to international pressure and withdraw, while only slightly less - 33% - believed that the situation should stay as it is. Understandably, only a tiny minority (3%) believed Israel should annex Judea and Samaria without granting full citizenship to all Palestinian Arabs, while 26% believed in full Israeli annexation and the establishment of a bi-national state.

Other topics covered in the poll included the United Kingdom's recent referendum result calling for the country to leave the European Union, and Israel's reconciliation deal with Turkey.

On the UK referendum, Israelis were asked whether they thought Britain leaving the EU would impact Brussels' ability to pressure Israel. 48% of Israeli Jews said it would have no effect either way, 17% believed it would actually strengthen EU pressure against Israel, while 11% said it would weaken the EU's capabilities in that regard. 24% said they didn't know.

In contrast, a clear majority of Arab Israelis (65%) believed a "Brexit" would have no impact either way.

On the deal with Turkey - which had not yet been signed at the time of the poll, which was conducted on the eve of the agreement's formal announcement - 43% of Jews polled said that Israel and Turkey would both benefit, while 38% believed Turkey came out much better off than Israel. Just 7.5% believed Israel had got the better deal, while the remainder of those surveyed either didn't know, or believed that neither country benefited from it.

49% agreed with the families of soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, whose bodies are being held by Hamas in Gaza, and Avera Mengistu - the mentally ill Israel civilian captured alive by the Islamist terror group - that their release should have been a precondition to Israel signing the deal, while 40% disagreed.