TEL AVIV – Most Israelis believe that Jerusalem is a divided city and the model of a unified capital has failed, concluded a new poll conducted this week.
The Israel Democracy Institute conducted the survey from February 28 to March 1 amid fiery debates regarding the future status of Jerusalem due to a wave of terror attacks in the capital.
600 Jewish and Arab Israelis were asked the following in phone interviews: “Do you agree or disagree with the opinion that Jerusalem is actually already divided into two cities – East and West?”
A clear majority of Jewish Israelis – 61% – agreed that Jerusalem is divided into a western and eastern city. This marks a significant increase from the last time the question was posed in 1999. Back then, 44% of respondents agreed with the statement, while 49% disagreed.
The poll conducted last week shows that around 47% of Arab Israelis believe the capital is divided.
The highest number of those who agreed that the city is divided came from respondents who are supporters of the center-left Zionist Union (88.5%) and Meretz (85%) parties. The belief that Jerusalem is already de facto separated flies in the face of Zionist Union and opposition leader Isaac Herzog’s proposal to divide the capital.
Last month, Herzog presented a diplomatic plan to bolster security by handing Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem over to the Palestinian Authority. However, many Israelis, including Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat, reject the notion of dividing the capital.
On Monday, Breitbart Jerusalem reported on a new campaign called “Saving Jewish Jerusalem” that aims to ensure that Jerusalem will retain a Jewish majority by separating from the Palestinians.
The IDI’s survey found that Likud voters were evenly split (49%) on the question of whether Jerusalem is divided.
A clear majority of Israeli Jews (57%) believe there is no connection between discrimination against Arab Israelis in the areas of healthcare, education, and other services, and Jerusalem Arabs’ recent involvement in terrorist attacks against Israeli Jews.
However, a majority of Israeli Arabs (52%) disagree. They stated that there is indeed a connection between discrimination against them and terrorism.
The survey also studied questions regarding the security situation, which began to deteriorate last October.
An overwhelming majority (77%) of Jewish Israelis strongly or moderately agreed with the statement made in late February by Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Roni Alsheikh that “the Palestinians sanctify death while we sanctify life.”
90% of Jewish respondents believe that the IDF is operating in a “very or moderately moral fashion” in defending the country against the current upsurge in terrorist attacks.
The IDI poll also found that 50% of the Jewish public disagrees with the recommendation by Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot that restraint should be applied in acting against the terrorists.
The survey has a maximum sampling error of 4.1 percent and a confidence level of 95%.