IDF soldiers, Archive
IDF soldiers, ArchiveChaim Goldberg/Flash90

A poll commission by the Israel Victory Project demonstrates overwhelming support among all sectors of the Israeli public for the primary objective of Operation Swords of Iron to be the elimination of Hamas.

When asked the question, “In the context of ‘Swords of Iron,’ what should be Israel’s primary objective?” 70% of the public answered to “eliminate Hamas," 15% answered to “secure the unconditional release of captives held by Hamas,” and 13% answered to “disarm Hamas completely.” Interestingly, 54% of those who said they voted for an Arab party in the last election also replied: “eliminate Hamas” as their preferred objective of the operation.

The Israel Victory Project is launching a campaign to ensure that the Israeli Government and security forces continue the war until its war aims have been met, including the elimination of Hamas. The campaign is titled “No Stopping Until Victory” and will encompass senior decision-makers and opinion shapers, as well as the general public.

The Israel Victory Project (IVP), created in 2015, seeks to steer Israeli policy toward backing a victory over longstanding violent Palestinian rejectionism to resolve the over 100-year conflict. This paradigm seeks to convince Palestinians that the Jewish state is permanent, drawing on Israel's earlier and successful strategy of deterrence.

The IVP has worked with senior decision-makers and opinion-shapers in Israel and abroad and has also, since 2016, helped constitute the Knesset Israel Victory Caucus with chairpersons from both the Coalition and Opposition with members from across the parliamentary political spectrum.

“It is clear that the public is calling overwhelmingly for the elimination of Hamas, nothing short of that will be considered a victory,” said Nave Dromi, CEO of the Middle East Forum’s Israel Office. “The decision-makers now have the statistics to demonstrate where the citizens of Israel stand on these issues, who call on them to act accordingly.”

When poll respondents were given the option of launching a ground operation in Gaza to eradicate Hamas or avoiding a ground operation and finding another way to deal with Hamas, 68% chose the former and 25% the latter solution.

On the issue of international pressure, respondents were asked about how much Israel should take into consideration its foreign allies. 43% responded that Israel must consider the perspectives of allies, particularly the United States, on security matters, while 55% responded that Israel must ignore external demands and make its own security decisions.

When asked, “Which do you see as key mistakes leading to the catastrophic failure on Oct. 7? with more than one answer permitted, 27% replied, “A military that relies too much on defensive measures”, 29% replied, “Poor intelligence capabilities”, 49% responded “Misconduct by the political echelon”, and 29% replied “The wrong ‘concept’ about Hamas”.

There were mixed responses to the ‘day after’ question. When asked, “Who, in your opinion, should rule Gaza after the overthrow of the Hamas regime?” 24% said Israel, 24% said “New leadership in Gaza,” 22% replied “The Palestinian Authority," whereas 19% chose “Arab nations.”

On the regional level, the idea of making concessions to the Palestinians in exchange for normalization with Saudi Arabia was not popular. When asked, “If Saudi Arabia demands significant concessions to the Palestinian Authority by Israel as the price for formal ties, should Israel agree to these?” 72% of the Israeli public said no, whereas 21% said yes.

The poll was conducted by Shlomo Filber and Zuriel Sharon through Direct Polls Ltd on October 17, 2023. 1,086 adult Israelis were sampled with a statistical sampling error of 4.0%.