At least 78 per cent Jews believe that Israeli will be victorious in its war with the Hamas militant group, a survey conducted by a think tank revealed.Among almost all the respondents, the need for Israel to emerge victorious is emphasised, even if victory requires unintentional harm to innocent civilians.
Participants of the survey conducted by the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) said that priority should be given to overthrowing Hamas as the main goal of the war, while only 14 per cent see the return of hostages as the key focus.
One-third of Jews want control over Gaza at the end of war, while one-quarter want to re-establish settlements in Gush Katif area.A vast majority of Israeli Jews believe fear of attack against Jews abroad should not affect war plans (90 per cent) .
The survey also found that trust in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) commanders were very high (86 per cent) , but the level of trust in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dipped to 30 per cent.On the question of what is the main achievement that would define victory, the response that received the highest percentage was "if Gaza is no longer under Hamas control - we have won" (38 per cent).
About a quarter of respondents (25 per cent) chose the answer "if residents of the border area feel safe to return to their homes - we have won", and 14 per cent said "if the hostages return home - we have won".
There were noticeable differences in the responses based on political affiliation.Voters from coalition parties clearly favoured ending Hamas rule as the key to victory, while among voters from opposition, the preferences were more evenly balanced between the options presented.
Among the coalition voters, almost half of the respondents (44 per cent) chose the option that includes a return to Gush Katif, and about 60 per cent chose the option of full Israeli control.In contrast, among the opposition voters, only 9 per cent chose the option of full Israeli control of the Strip.
JPPI Vice President Shuki Friedman said: "While the fighting in Gaza is not over, Israelis are already thinking about its end. Among the political considerations guiding Israeli decision-makers, the most important thing is to ensure that Hamas does not continue to exist and that we are no longer dependent on the goodwill of others for our security."
Out of six options presented to the respondents about what would happen in Gaza after the war, about 45 per cent of the respondents chose Palestinian rule in Gaza, provided that Israel would be responsible for security, or that Gaza would be demilitarised.
Of these, a relatively small proportion (12 per cent) chose the rule of the Palestinian Authority, and a larger proportion expressed a preference for a Palestinian government that is not Hamas or the Palestinian Authority (21 per cent).
The level of trust in IDF commanders (quite high and very high) rose from 75 per cent in the survey conducted in mid-October to 86 per cent in the survey conducted after mid-November.The level of trust in the Prime Minister decreased from 32 per cent to 30 per cent, and the level of trust in the emergency government remained unchanged (43 per cent).
However overall, there is a decrease in the level of concern among respondents regarding the security situation.While in mid-October, a few days after the Hamas attack, 42 oper centf the Jewish public said they were "very concerned" about the security situation, this month the figure decreased significantly to 27 per cent.
The total number of concerned individuals (very concerned and moderately concerned) decreased from 84 per cent to 74 per cent, with the more noticeable decrease in concern among voters of coalition parties.
There is also a noticeable increase in optimism compared to the previous month when respondents were asked, "are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of the State of Israel?"The percentage of respondents who answered "very optimistic" increased from 35 per cent to 43 per cent.
The change is similar among voters from both the coalition and opposition.Prof. Yedidia Stern, president of JPPI said: "The aggressive military posture in Gaza is changing the national mood. Israelis are still worried about the security situation - but considerably less. The severe pessimism we experienced following the Hamas attack is also easing."
Interestingly there is a noticeable gap between different groups regarding the willingness to cause harm to uninvolved Gaza civilians.Among the secular respondents, the majority (62 per cent) believe that the goal of the IDF should be "to win while making an effort not to harm innocent civilians".
In contrast, among religious groups, there is a tendency to respond "to win and it doesn't matter how" (47 per cent among religious respondents) or even "to win and seek revenge, including causing harm to as many Gaza residents as possible" (20 per cent among religious respondents).
The percentage of Jewish Israelis who agree with the goal of "not to harm innocent civilians, even at the cost of a less clear victory" is very low. Fear of harming Jews abroad should not affect war plans. In recent weeks, the war in Gaza has manifested itself in a significant increase in anti-Semitic statements on the networks, in calls against Jews in various parts of the world, in attacks by Jews - and the Jews themselves express, including, recently, in a JPPI survey among American Jews, a growing anxiety about the strength of anti-Semitism.
In light of this, the institute's questionnaire in November included a question concerning the manner in which Israel should behave. Should the fear of harming Jews abroad affect Israel's war plans? In the answer to this question, 90 per cent of the respondents agreed, and the differences between voters of different parties, or between different groups according to a scale of religiosity, are not large.
Among the supporters of the state camp, 92 per cent said no, and among the religious Zionist voters, 87 per cent said no. The survey was conducted from November 15-18, with the participation of 666 Israelis.