Poll: A Question of Priorities

September 1, 2011


The summer here in Israel has been eventful to say the least. With the Arab world in turmoil, conversations here have often turned of late to the regional implications of protest, government repression, and revolution in two of Israel’s four immediate neighbors. Yet by mid-July, these discussions largely melted away with the emergence of large domestic protests over a host of social issues including high housing and consumer goods prices, low wages, eroded social services, and the current government’s free-market approach to managing the Israeli economy.

With thousands of protestors across the countries organizing marches, rallies, and tent cities particularly in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the government too largely shifted its focus from the Palestinian diplomatic front to these pressing domestic concerns. Unfortunately the distance between the government and the protesters remains quite large, with representatives of the various organizations which have joined the protest dismissing early initiatives put forward by the government appointed Trajtenberg committee.

Read the rest of this entry »

Polls: The UNGA and a Palestinian State, Part 3

July 24, 2011


In the previous two posts, I have explored the Israeli public response to the Palestinian Authority’s intent to unilaterally declare independence and seek international diplomatic recognition at the UN General Assembly in September 2011.

Monthly public opinion data gathered by the Peace Index over the last six months indicates that Israelis are increasingly of the belief that the PA’s efforts are credible and that Israel will suffer international condemnation, greater diplomatic isolation, and potentially a new Palestinian intifada if it refuses to recognize a Palestinian state in the territories of Gaza, the West Bank, and eastern Jerusalem. However, polling also indicates that Israelis believe that international pressure will not increase significantly nor would greater political moderation by the Israeli government result in a Palestinian return to negotiations or the aversion of a new violent Palestinian uprising, particularly if Israel still refuses to withdraw from the West Bank.

Read the rest of this entry »

Polls: The UNGA and a Palestinian State, Part 2

July 21, 2011

abbas-netanyahu-talksIn yesterday’s post, I explored the issues surrounding the Palestinian Authority’s initiative to receive diplomatic recognition for a Palestinian state in the whole of Gaza, the West Bank, and eastern Jerusalem and the Israeli public’s reaction to this initiative.

Analyzing recent public opinion data, it is clear that Israelis believe that the PA will go forward to the UN while continuing to avoid negotiations with Israel. It is also clear that Israelis believe that UN General Assembly recognition for a Palestinian state will cause Israel to become more diplomatically isolated, potentially be subject to international economic sanctions for its continued presence in the West Bank, and potentially even face a new violent Palestinian uprising. Given these pressures, I posed the question: why does Israel not simply accede to Palestinians demands, withdraw from the West Bank, and recognize a Palestinian state?

Read the rest of this entry »

Polls: The UNGA and a Palestinian State, Part 1

July 20, 2011


Will the United Nations General Assembly extend diplomatic recognition to a Palestinian state in the whole of Gaza, the West Bank, and eastern Jerusalem in September this year? This question has perplexed Israeli policymakers, worried the general public, and invigorated a lively debate in Israeli society on Israel’s international diplomatic standing, its relationship with the Palestinian Authority, and on the question of territorial withdrawal.

With negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in a deep freeze since September of 2010, Mahmoud Abbas has turned to the threat of a unilateral declaration of independence in September 2011 and to request diplomatic recognition from the United Nations Security Council. Expecting an American veto, the PA plans to refer their request to the UN General Assembly in which most expect that they will easily secure majority approval. In a May 2011 op-ed in the New York Times, Abbas claims that negotiations remain their first option, the Palestinians can wait no longer “while Israel continues to send more settlers to the occupied West Bank and denies Palestinians access to most of our land and holy places, particularly in Jerusalem.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Yom Yerushalayim and the National Consensus

June 1, 2011


Today, Israel celebrates Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, marking 44 years since the reunification of Jerusalem by Israeli forces during the 1967 Six Day War. Public commemorations here take many forms including speeches, marches, concerts, educational programs, and cultural events. See a full program here in Hebrew and here in English.

Yom Yerushalayim is more religiously oriented than Yom Haatzmaut (Israel Independence Day) and is less enthusiastically celebrated by secular Israelis and those who live outside of the Jerusalem area. Still, over the past two days, Israelis of all backgrounds participated in the festivities and marches. Today, I witnessed large groups of secular Israelis on solidarity tours of the Old City and many a street corner filled with people draped in Israeli flags singing songs about Jerusalem.

Many of the events today center around the Old City and the Kotel (Western Wall), the ancient retaining wall of the mount on which the Temple once sat. The Kotel is the holiest site in Judaism second only to the Temple Mount itself on which Jewish worship is forbidden by the Waqf. The symbolism of this destination is deeply embedded in the Israeli national consciousness and is central to the celebration of Yom Yerushalayim. To understand the oft-quoted Israeli insistence on Jerusalem as the united and sovereign capital of the State of Israel and the Jewish people, you must understand this history, ancient and modern.

Read the rest of this entry »


May 23, 2011

Pozivam vas da učestvujete u onlajn istraživanju kojim se ispituju stavovi građana Srbije prema političkim govorima. Za učešće u njemu je potrebno otprilike petnaest minuta.

Da biste u njemu učestvovali, potrebno je da budete punoletni državljanin Srbije. Takođe, svaki ispitanik direktno učestvuje u specijalnom izvlačenju u kom poklanjamo ajpod-tač (iPod Touch).

U ovom istraživanju garantujemo poverljivost podataka koje ispitanicu daju. Pružene informacije biće ukrštene sa informacijama iz drugih istraživanja, pa neće biti moguće utvrditi identitet onoga ko je odgovorio.

Svoja pitanja i komentare mi možete poslati na azellman@u.northwestern.edu.


May 11, 2011

אתם מוזמנים להשתתף בסקר און-ליין שבוחן עמדות ישראליות ע”י דיבור פוליטי. הסקר רק יקח 15 דקות מזמנכם החשוב.

משתתפים צריכים להיות אזרחים ישראלים ולפחות מעל גיל 18. כל משתתפי הסקר יזכה לקבל 50 ש”ח תלוש ל”הולצר ספרים” בירושלים או השתתפות בהגרלה של iPad 2 חינם.


פרויקט המחקר אשר מבטיח סודיות למשתתפים בו. המידע שתספק כאן נשמר חסוי ומשולב עם המידע שנאסף מנסקרים אחרים כך שאי אפשר יהיה לקבוע את זהותו של מגיב ספציפי.

נא לשלוח את השאלות, התגובות, והדאגות שלכם אל azellman@u.northwestern.edu

Polls: Will Israel Become a Bi-National State?

March 12, 2011


For close observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, discussion regarding the emergence of a bi-national state on the whole of the land in the place of a two-state solution is a familiar, frequently distressing trope.

When Palestinian Authority officials really want to scare the Israeli public, they threaten to dissolve the PA and seek a “one state solution.” Similarly, when left-leaning parties today want to highlight their opposition to continued settlement construction in the West Bank, they raise the issue of a looming “demographic threat.” So too, has it become a significant trope within the major Israeli political parties, Kadima, Likud, and Labor alike to varying degrees, that territorial withdrawal is necessary to preserve Israel’s status as a “Jewish and Democratic state.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Poll: Can Jewish Settlers Remain After Withdrawal?

February 28, 2011


Early this morning, Israeli security forces and Jewish residents clashed in the West Bank settlement of Havat Gilad. Police and Civil Administration officials arrived at the community near Yitzhar at 4:30 in the morning to tear down a number of unauthorized structures. During the confrontation that ensued, settlers threw rocks and police fired rubber bullets and tear gas. 15 people were injured and 8 were arrested.

Although such clashes are not commonplace, they are becoming seemingly more frequent. This battle between settlers to ensure the permanence of their outlying communities and of the police and military to contain unauthorized settlement growth has, in recent years, drawn more attention, particularly as security incidents between Israeli forces and West Bank Palestinians have become less frequent and less violent. Incidents have largely centered on the dismantling of settlements and bulldozing of homes, synagogues, and yeshivot, but have also included Jewish rebuilding of destroyed buildings, planting on state lands, and even attacks on Jewish hikers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Palestine Papers: The PA and the Jewish State

February 21, 2011


Disclosures by Al Jazeera from the Palestine Papers have confirmed what supporters and critics alike have known about the Palestinian Authority for some time. Even if PA negotiators are willing in principle to limited territorial compromise on the pre-1967 border (if only in private negotiations), they are opposed to the characterization of Israel as a “Jewish State.”

Regular observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will note that Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state has become as much of a sticking point for Israelis in negotiations as settlements and refugees have been for the PA. While Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu has not made such formal recognition a precondition for talks, he and many others believe that the unwillingness of the PA to recognize a Jewish state is a continued indication that it rejects the legitimacy of Israel itself.

Read the rest of this entry »