Most Israelis Expect 'Painful Reaction' From Trump if Israel Crosses U.S. on Settlements, Poll Says

New data suggests Israelis don't want an early election and most believe schools should teach both Jewish and Palestinian viewpoints on conflict.

U.S. President Donald Trump, right, looks towards Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

A majority of Israeli said they believed that if Israel continued to expand its West Bank settlements without the consent of the Trump administration, it would likely prompt a “painful reaction” from the United States, a new survey published on Tuesday said, citing the response of 52 percent of Jewish and Arab Israeli respondents.

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The monthly Peace Index, published by the Jerusalem-based Israel Democracy Institute, showed that a large majority (close to 80 percent) said they did not view Trump’s recent invitation to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to visit the White House as a “negative sign.”

The respondents were largely split about whether Trump would continue the policy of his predecessor, Barack Obama, and support a two-state solution. Only a small majority though he would take a different approach.

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The survey, undertaken in late March, included responses from a representative sample of 600 Israelis – 500 Jews and 100 Arabs.

If elections were held soon, a majority of Israelis would prefer to see a right-wing or center-right government take power, according to the poll.

File: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the 2016 Genesis Prize award-ceremony in Jerusalem, June, 2016

The index shows that 30 percent of Israelis favor a right-wing government and 31 percent a center-right government. Only 21 percent prefer a center-left government, and a mere 8 percent would want to see a left-wing government take power.

Less than 30 percent of the respondents said they felt early elections were justified. A recent crisis over the future of public broadcasting in Israel, which pitted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against one of his key coalition partners, threatened to prompt early elections. The crisis was resolved last week.

An overwhelming majority of Israelis questioned in the latest survey – close to two-thirds – said they believed political considerations, rather a desire to improve the balance and quality of the news, were behind Netanyahu’s recent efforts to overhaul the media market.

In this month’s survey, respondents were asked whether they felt Israeli schools should include both the Jewish and Arab narrative when teaching the history of the conflict. A large majority (almost two-thirds) expressed support for teaching both viewpoints.