Poll: 77 Percent of Israelis See Iran Nukes as Existential Threat (JCPA) JERUSALEM CENTER FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS) Published March 2012)
JCPA-Jerusalem Center Public Affairs
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A survey of 505 Jewish Israelis conducted in March 2012 by Prof.
Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University for the Jerusalem Center for
Public Affairs sought answers to the following questions:
1. How do Israeli citizens understand the Iranian threat?
2. Is the use of force the only way to stop Iran´s nuclear plans?
3. How do the U.S. and Israel compare in their abilities to prevent a
-An overwhelming majority of Israelis believe that the Iranian
nuclear threat constitutes an existential threat to the State of
Israel and that the only way to stop Iran´s nuclearization is by a
-Two-thirds of Israelis (65%) think the price Israel would have to
pay for living under the shadow of the Iranian nuclear bomb is higher
than the price it would pay for attacking Iran´s nuclear capability.
-60% agree that the only way to stop Iran´s nuclear program is by a
military attack; 66% believe in the IDF´s ability to damage Iran´s
nuclear program substantially.
-63% believe that the price the Israeli home front will pay if the
United States attacks Iran is similar to the price it will pay if
Israel does so.
-A 60% majority agree with the statement that the only way to stop
Iran´s nuclearization is by a military attack.
The survey reveals that a substantial majority of Israelis (60% vs.
36%) believe that the United States will act militarily against Iran
if the sanctions do not suffice to stop it from nuclearizing. While a
huge majority (80% vs. 9%) of Israelis agree that the American
military is capable of damaging Iran´s nuclear program substantially,
Israeli citizens´ level of belief in the IDF is very high: a very
sizable majority (66% vs. 29%) believes that the IDF, too, has the
ability to considerably damage Iran´s nuclear program.
Respondents were asked to assess the "relative price" Israel would
have to pay in two situations: in the case of the U.S. attacking Iran
vs. Israel deciding to do so by itself; and in the case of living
under the shadow of an Iranian nuclear bomb vs. attacking Iran´s
While 30% do not agree with the statement that it is preferable for
Israel if the U.S. acts, a majority of 62% vs. 30% agree that if the
U.S. acts to stop Iran, the price for Israel will be lower than if
Israel acts alone. At the same time, 63% (vs. 29%) believe that if
the U.S. mounts an attack on Iran, the price for the Israeli home
front from Iranian missiles will be similar to the price Israel will
have to pay for an Israeli operation against Iran.
Two-thirds (65% vs. 27%) believe that the price Israel would have to
pay for living in the shadow of an Iranian nuclear bomb is higher
than the price it would pay for attacking Iran´s nuclear facilities.
Notably, 56% of the women, compared to 73% of the men, agree that the
price Israel would pay for living with an Iranian nuclear bomb would
be higher than the price for attacking.
The survey looked at the implications of an Iranian nuclear bomb by
asking: do Israelis agree with the statement that if Iran develops
nuclear weapons, it will use them against Israel, b) do they agree
with the statement that the Iranian threat constitutes an existential
threat to Israel, and c) do they think that if Iran develops nuclear
weapons, the Palestinians and Hizbullah will grow more belligerent
toward Israel? A majority of 61% (vs. 34%) agree that if Iran
develops nuclear weapons, it will use them against Israel. An even
larger majority (of 77% vs. 21%) agree that the Iranian threat
constitutes an existential threat to Israel. A similar majority of
75% (vs. 21%) think that if Iran develops nuclear weapons, the
Palestinians and Hizbullah will grow more belligerent toward Israel.
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