Poll: Most Jewish Israelis Say Iran Strike Less Risky Than Nuclear Threat

Poll conducted by Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs finds 60% believe that only military action could stop Iran's nuclear program.

Ophir Bar-Zohar
Ophir Bar-Zohar
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Ophir Bar-Zohar
Ophir Bar-Zohar

Nearly two-thirds of Jewish Israelis believe that attacking Iran to stop its nuclear program would be less harmful to Israel than living under the shadow of an Iranian nuclear bomb, a new survey shows.

The poll, conducted by Prof. Camil Fuchs for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, showed that 65 percent of those asked agreed with the claim that the price Israel would have to pay for living with the threat of an Iranian bomb would be greater than the price it would pay for attacking Iran's nuclear facilities. Only 26 percent disagreed with this claim, with nine percent saying they weren't sure.

A reactor at the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran on August 21, 2010.Credit: AP

The poll questioned 505 Jewish Israelis, representing five different populations: secular, traditional, religious, ultra-Orthodox and Russian immigrants. When breaking down the response into sectors, 72 percent of the religious Zionist respondents agreed with the statement, compared to 65-66 percent of the secular and traditional respondents. Men were also more likely to support the statement than women, with 73 percent of the men questioned preferring an attack on Iran, as opposed to 56 percent of the women.

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Most of those polled (60 percent) agreed that only military action could stop Iran's nuclear program, compared to 37 percent that did not agree. In this instance, too, the religious respondents were much more decisive, as were male ones, with 70 percent of the men agreeing that military reaction was the only way, compared to 50 percent of the women who agreed.

This gender gap raises the question of whether the more moderate women's viewpoint would be taken into account by the security cabinet, which would have to decide whether to actually attack. There are no women in that cabinet; Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat is an observer but has no vote.

Sixty-three percent of those questioned believe the Israeli home front will suffer equally whether Israel attacks Iran or the United States does, compared to 29 percent who disagreed with that statement. Sixty-four percent expressed confidence that the Israel Defense Forces could significantly damage Iran's nuclear program, compared to 29 percent who disagreed. The religious and traditional respondents were much more supportive of the IDF than the other population groups (secular, Russians and ultra-Orthodox ).

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