Poll: 85 Percent of Israeli Jews Want to Keep Fighting Hamas

Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 09:39 PM

By Greg Richter

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A vast majority of Israel's Jewish population wants to continue the fight against Hamas in Gaza until the terrorist group stops firing rockets at Israel and its tunnels are destroyed, according to a poll by the University of Haifa.

At least 85 percent of Israeli Jews favor continuing operations, The Times of Israel reports.

And 91 support the current ground operation that began on July 17. Just 4 percent believe the operation was a mistake.

Fifty-one percent of those surveyed want the ground war to continue until Hamas is taken from power, but only 17 percent believe Israel should reoccupy the Gaza Strip.

Ninety-nine percent favor air strikes, which have been under way since July 8.

Fewer than 10 percent think the number of casualties on either side should affect continuing operations. Fifty-six Israeli soldiers have died compared to 1,365 Palestinians, some of whom were civilians.

That has led to international calls for Israel to back off, and the United Nations has accused both Hamas and Israel of war crimes. Hamas is accused of storing its rockets in schools, mosques and other civilian areas. Israel is accused of purposely targeting civilians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied those claims and said Thursday Israel will destroy the tunnels Hamas uses to attack Israel with or without a ceasefire. His actions in the conflict have raised his approval among Israeli Jews to 65 percent, according to the survey.

Eighty-four percent of Israeli Jews believe peace with the Palestinians is either impossible or possibly only many years down the road. And 42 percent said a two-state solution was the best way to solve the decades-long conflict. Twenty percent favor forcing Palestinians into Jordan.

Israeli Arabs make up 20 percent of the population, and some of their leaders have expressed support for Hamas. The survey showed that only 12-15 percent of Israeli Jews believe Israeli Arabs are loyal citizens who are not a threat to the country.

The survey sample consisted of 1,007 Israeli Jewish adults between Wednesday and Friday. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

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