Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Poll On Israeli Reaction To A Nuclear Iran: More Would Leave

Back in January:
Some 23 percent of Israelis would consider leaving the country if Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, according to a poll conducted on behalf of the Center for Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University.

Some 85 percent of respondents said they feared the Islamic Republic would obtain an atomic bomb, 57 percent believed the new U.S. initiative to engage in dialogue with Tehran would fail and 41 percent believed Israel should strike Iran's nuclear installations without waiting to see whether or how the talks develop.
New poll:
A new poll of Israeli attitudes towards Iran found that the public is evenly split on forestalling Iranian nuclear weapons development by means of an immediate Israeli preemptive strike. Of those advocating further diplomacy, 10 percent said that Israel should engage Iran directly.

Results of the survey, commissioned by the Center for Iranian Studies (CIS) at Tel Aviv University, were published on the sidelines of the CIS's annual conference on Iran May 24-25. The polling was conducted earlier this month among 509 adult respondents representing all Israeli sectors by the Ma'agar Mochot (Brain Trust) research company.

Fifty-one percent of those surveyed expressed support for an immediate Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear sites, while 49 percent believe that Israel should wait for the results of U.S. engagement with Iran before pursuing alternative paths to preventing a nuclear-armed Iran. At the same time, a clear majority of the Israeli public (74 percent), including those advocating a wait-and-see approach, does not believe that American engagement will persuade Iran to change its course. A full 81 percent believe that Iran will, in fact, attain a nuclear bomb.

A further breakdown of the statistics shows that majority support for a preemptive attack on Iran is to be found among male, national-religious and haredi religious Israelis (61, 62 and 60 percent, respectively). A major difference exists between right-wing and left-wing Israelis regarding the appropriate Israeli policy, with 38 percent of those leaning to the left favoring attack, as opposed to 63 percent of those leaning to the right.
While the number of Israelis who believe that Iran will obtain a nuclear bomb has not changed much (85% / 81%), more are now pessimistic of the chances that US dialog with Iran will succeed (57% / 74%)  and more also believe that Israel should strike Iran without waiting for diplomacy (41% / 51%).

The most controversial question from the January poll was on the issue of what percentage of Israelis would consider leaving Israel if Iran obtains nuclear arms: In the January poll 25% said they would. In the current poll, 30% said they would.

It seems like talk about Iran gaining nuclear arms has been going on forever. At some point, the talk is going to be moot: either because Iran will have obtained nuclear arms--or because Israel will have done something to stop it (for now).

And we are getting closer and closer to that point.

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