New aChord Center Study Shows: Majority of the Public Opposes Unilateral Annexation

June 28, 2020

A comprehensive survey, conducted by the aChord Center - Social Psychology for Social Change at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, examined patterns of support and opposition regarding the government’s annexation plan, which is scheduled for this summer. This study, which is the largest and most in-depth study conducted in the country on the topic of annexation, found that:

· 69% of the Israeli public opposes unilateral annexation

· Unilateral annexation is at the bottom of the public’s list of priorities

· Majority of the public feels that the government’s priorities do not align with their own

· There is a misconception among the Jewish population about the extent of Israeli Jews’ public support for unilateral annexation. While an overwhelming majority of the public opposes this course of action, it was found that the existing support for unilateral annexation is estimated to be 16% greater than the actual percentage of support.

The survey was conducted in early June 2020 among the adult population in Israel. The survey sampled 1,795 Jewish citizens and 182 Arab citizens - a total of 1,977 respondents.

The study’s main findings:

A significant majority of the Israeli public opposes the government’s unilateral annexation plan.

It was found that majority of Israeli citizens oppose the annexation plan. When the respondents were asked to decide between support and opposition regarding unilateral annexation, it was found that 69% of the public oppose unilateral annexation, while only approximately 31% supported it. This represents 63.5% of the Jewish population and 92% of the Arab population who oppose annexation. In addition, taking into account the division of political camps in the Jewish population, the study found that the opposition of the Left and the Center is almost at the level of consensus (94% and 80%, respectively), whereas 40% of the Right stated that they oppose this political move. The question that was asked was “What is your level of support or opposition regarding Israel unilaterally annexing areas of the West Bank?”, with the answers ranging from 1 strongly opposed to 6 strongly support.

Opposition and support for unilateral annexation among the general public - 69% opposition, 31% support:

 

High percentages of opposition to unilateral annexation among Jews:

 

In the Arab population, 92% of citizens oppose unilateral annexation:

 

A total of 63.5% of the Jewish population, 92% of the Arab population and 69% of the general public in Israel oppose unilateral annexation.

The study found that there was a large gap between the actual level of support for unilateral annexation among the public and the perception of the Jewish population regarding the level of support. When the Jewish sample of participants were asked to estimate the percentage of support for unilateral annexation (they were asked “What do you think is the percentage of Jews in Israel who support unilateral annexation of parts of the West Bank?”), they estimated it at 52%. While in actuality, only 36.5% among the Jewish population in Israel support unilateral annexation, and only 31% of the general public support it. Although an overwhelming majority of the public opposes the move, it was found that the Jewish public estimates its existing support for unilateral annexation to be 16% more than the actual percentage of support.

The Jewish population perceives support for unilateral annexation as higher than the true level of support:

 

The study also examined the public’s priorities regarding various issues that are on the agenda. The participants were asked “The following is a list of social and topical issues. Rank the issues in order of importance with which they should be addressed from the most important (1) to the least important (8) to you”, and were presented with the eight issues appearing in the graphs below. The findings show that unilateral annexation / applying sovereignty is the lowest ranked issue on the public’s list of priorities, while the issues that are at the other end of the scale include the cost of living and the state of the health care system.

Annexation of the West Bank is ranked as the public’s lowest priority:

 

The study also examined the degree to which the public estimates that its priorities align with those of the government. The respondents were asked to answer the question: “To what extent, in your opinion, do the current government’s priorities align with your own?” Among the Jewish population, it was found that divided to Left, Center, and Right, the overwhelming majority of Centerists and Leftists believe that the government’s priorities “do not align at all” with their own, whereas only 10% of Rightists believe that the current government’s priorities align to a large extent with their own.

Majority of the public feels that the government’s priorities do not align with their own:

 

In conclusion, the study’s findings indicate that the majority of the Israeli public opposes the unilateral annexation plan and believes that it does not reflect its priorities. In addition, there are gaps between the low level of support for annexation and the estimated level of support among the Jewish population.

Prof. Eran Halperin, Founder and Co-chair of the aChord Center: “We have conducted an extensive study with a particularly large sample, and the findings are clear and unequivocal - the majority of the Israeli public opposes annexation and regards it as an issue at the bottom of their list of priorities.” Director of Research at aChord, Dr. Yossi Hasson: “While there seems to be a political debate surrounding unilateral annexation within the government, it is not sharply reflected in the general public’s positions. Compared to other political issues, the survey’s findings show that there is a relatively broad consensus surrounding the opposition to annexation.” Lee Aldar: “The study clearly demonstrates the gap between the public’s true positions against unilateral annexation versus what is perceived as public support for the move.”

The study data was collected by the survey companies i-Panel and Statnet Research Institute.

The research team: Prof. Eran Halperin, Dr. Yossi Hasson, Lee Aldar and Inbal Zipris