Israelis Weigh in on the State of the War Against Hamas

News & Politics

The media and pundits have spent plenty of time looking at what Americans think about Israel’s war against Hamas. Of course, we can’t miss the squeaky-wheel protesters and loud politicians voicing their affinity for the terrorists.

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But what do Israelis think about what’s going on in their country? The results of a poll that Pew Research Center released last week are a fascinating mixed bag that reveals the thoughts of those closest to the conflict.

The top-line numbers are encouraging: “39% of Israelis say Israel’s military response against Hamas in Gaza has been about right, while 34% say it has not gone far enough and 19% think it has gone too far.” Additionally, just over two-thirds of Israelis believe that Israel will achieve its goals in battling Hamas, with 40% saying that Israel will “definitely” win and 27% saying that it will “probably” succeed.

This confidence doesn’t eliminate any worry about the conflict. According to Pew’s report, “61% say they are extremely or very concerned about the war expanding into other countries in the region” and “68% say they are extremely or very concerned about the war going on for a long time.”

As to what happens after the war is over, there’s less confidence, and opinions vary more widely. Pew reports that “A 40% plurality of Israelis think Israel should govern the Gaza Strip. Smaller shares think Gazans should decide who governs (14%) or would like to see a Palestinian Authority national unity government either with (6%) or without (12%) President Mahmoud Abbas.”

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“Separately, 26% of Israelis think a way can be found for Israel and an independent Palestinian state to coexist peacefully with each other — down from 35% who said the same last year, prior to the war, and about half as many as took that position when the question was first asked in 2013,” Pew continues.

Arab Israelis’ opinions skew the total results somewhat. Without their answers to the survey questions, which are more skeptical of Israel’s leadership and more amenable to Hamas, the total results would be far more confident about the war and its aftermath.

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How about Israelis and their views of President Biden’s handling of the war? Bear in mind that Pew conducted the survey throughout the month of March and the first few days of April, before Biden began to appease the radical left and turn away from Israel.

Nearly three-fourths of Israelis want the U.S. to have a role in resolving the conflict. Nevertheless, Biden’s report card from Israelis was mixed:

  • 60% of Israelis disapprove of the way Biden is handling the Israel-Hamas war.
  • 41% think Biden is striking the right balance between Israelis and Palestinians. Still, 27% of Israelis say he is favoring Israelis too much, while roughly the same share (25%) say he favors Palestinians too much.
  • Most Israelis express confidence in Biden to handle world affairs and have a favorable view of the U.S. But ratings of both Biden and the U.S. have fallen at least 10 percentage points since last year.

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Interestingly enough, the poll only asked Israelis one question about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Fifty-two percent of Jewish Israelis approve of the job he’s doing, while (unsurprisingly) 92% of Arab Israelis disapprove.

Here in the States, we get wrapped up in our opinions on world conflicts, and hearing what Israelis think about what’s happening on their soil should give us a deeper perspective. And it should give us more respect for Israel’s brave fight.

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