IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, captured by Hamas in 2006
IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, captured by Hamas in 2006. Photo by Archive
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Sixty-three percent of Jewish Israelis support swapping captive soldier Gilad Shalit for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, including 450 specifically requested by Hamas, some of whom are mass murderers, according to a survey carried out by the Rafi Smith polling company on behalf of the campaign for Shalit's release.

The survey was conducted in late May among a representative sample of 600 Jewish Israeli adults. The question asked was "Do you support or oppose a deal to free Gilad Shalit in exchange for the release of 450 prisoners, some of whom have blood on their hands, to their homes, along with another 550 more minor offenders of Israel's choosing, who will be released after Gilad comes home?"

The pollsters reported that 63 percent of respondents answered in the affirmative, 19 percent said they were opposed and 18 percent voiced no opinion.

An analysis of the results showed that support for Shalit's release on these terms was relatively high among women, secular and traditional Jews, people with higher incomes, those with a leftist worldview and those who would have voted for Kadima, Labor or Meretz if elections had been held on the day of the survey.

Support for the deal was lower among religiously observant Jews and those who define themselves as right-wing, though 55 percent still favored it. Likud voters split 61 percent in favor and 28 percent against.

Similar to earlier survey

The results were similar to those of a more detailed survey conducted in February, when 61 percent supported the deal and 25 percent opposed it.

"It seems the public's support for the deal is growing in its response to the main question," said the campaign's chairman, Shimshon Liebman. "The answers to the more detailed survey in February showed that the ramifications of failing to bring Shalit back are complex and should be taken into account by the decision makers. We call upon the prime minister to take responsibility for all the implications of Gilad's intolerable five years in captivity."