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Russian-born Israelis and their mistrust of everybody

by Shmuel Rosner

April 5, 2012 | 8:53 am

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visiting the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility. (Photo: Reuters)

I have to apologize twice at the outset of this post: Once, for writing so much in recent days about new ‎polls – apparently, Passover is not just the holiday of matza, it’s also the great holiday of Jewish polls ‎‎(there are still a couple of such new polls waiting for me). The more important apology, though, is the one ‎concerning the content of what you’re about to read: I’ll show you some interesting findings, for which I ‎only have a partial explanation. The numbers are striking; the reasons are often beyond me – if I’m able to ‎find someone to provide an explanation down the road, I’ll make sure to share his/her observations with ‎you.‎

The poll I’m writing about today is one that I already mentioned a couple of days ago, as I was writing Do Israelis support an attack on Iran? It is a recent poll, commissioned by ‎The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and conducted by Domain’s resident magician, Prof. Camil ‎Fuchs. Seventy-seven percent think Iran is an existential threat, says the poll, and the papers reporting ‎its findings generally followed this story line. Between the lines, though, there’s another interesting story ‎hidden - the one about Russian immigrants to Israel and their somewhat different approach to Iran. The ‎good people of JCPA provided Rosner’s Domain content editor Sara Miller with the crosstab tables, ‎from which this story emerges. ‎

So here it is: Russian-born Israelis (those who immigrated after 1990), generally speaking, accept that Iran ‎is a threat to Israel. However, they seem less afraid of it, and are also more skeptical when it comes to any ‎attempt to stop Iran. They don’t trust the IDF as much as most other Israelis, but also don’t trust the ‎promises of President Obama. In some ways, they respond exactly like “religious” (and more hawkish) ‎Israelis, but in others they respond more like “secular” Israelis (Russian Israelis tend to be secular but ‎hawkish – so that’s to be expected). ‎

Have something to say about this? Join the debate at Rosner’s Domain on Facebook

Take a look for example, at this table, comparing Jewish Israelis from different sectors on the question: ‎Do you agree/disagree that if Iran will acquire nuclear weapon it will use it against Israel? Just 15% of ‎Russian Israelis totally agree with such assertion, compared to double this number in the general ‎population. Fifty-five percent of Russians agree with it, compared to more than 60% on average, and ‎more than 70% among religious Israelis.



Sector

Total

‎‎

Secular

Traditional

Religious

Haredi

Russian

Totally agree

34%

36%

32%

35%

15%

31%

Agree

26%

26%

42%

27%

40%

30%

Disagree

17%

12%

18%

17%

26%

17%

Totally disagree

19%

21%

6%

8%

15%

17%

Don’t know

4%

4%

2%

13%

4%

5%





Russian Israelis tend to trust the American military just a little less than other Israelis (82% would trust it to ‎‎“significantly hit” Iran’s nuclear program, compared to 87% on average) – but their trust of Israel’s military ‎is another story. Take a look: Can the IDF significantly hit Iran’s nuclear program?



Sector

Total

‎‎

Secular

Traditional

Religious

Haredi

Russian

Totally agree

32%

35%

42%

27%

26%

32%

Agree

31%

38%

30%

33%

36%

34%

Disagree

20%

14%

14%

21%

22%

18%

Totally ‎disagree

16%

7%

6%

6%

13%

11%

Don’t know

2%

6%

8%

13%

4%

5%



Interestingly, all Israelis trust the US military much more than they trust the IDF (87% and 66% ‎respectively). But two sectors stand apart, as their trust of Israel’s military is much higher than the others’ – ‎the patriotic religious are the most trustful of the IDF (but even they trust the US military more), and ‎traditional Israelis also tend to trust it. The odd group of the secular, the Haredi and the Russian Israelis ‎have much greater doubts. ‎ But look how these groups regroup when another question is asked: While the Russians and the Haredim ‎differ much to the religious when it comes to trusting the IDF – they have a lot in common when it comes ‎to trusting the American president, Barack Obama. Fifty-eight percent of secular Israelis agree that ‎Obama’s statements reflect readiness to act in order to prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb. But this number ‎drops significantly when more traditional Israelis ponder Obama’s commitment. The most hawkish ‎‎“religious” are the least trustful of Obama, and their partners in this alliance of mistrust are the Haredi and ‎the (secular but hawkish) Russians:  ‎

‎ ‎‎ ‎

Secular

Traditional

Religious

Haredi

Russians

Totally agree

22%

13%

6%

20%

13%

Agree

36%

32%

18%

17%

24%

Disagree

22%

32%

43%

28%

32%

Totally Disagree

16%

18%

22%

17%

22%

Don’t know

4%

5%

10%

17%

9%



To conclude: ‎ ‎ ‎
  • The secular don’t much trust Israel’s military, but do trust Obama. ‎
  • The religious trust the IDF but not Obama. ‎
  • The Haredi and the Russians don’t trust anyone.  ‎
  • However, while the Haredi expect to be bombed by Iran, while the Russians don’t even trust the ‎Iranians to do what’s expected from them (and use the bomb).‎ Tracker Pixel for Entry

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