Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak meeting with his American counterpart Leon Panetta in Tel Aviv, August 1, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
I’ve written a couple of posts in the past about Israelis’ views regarding an IDF attack on Iran. A new Israel Democracy Institute survey (July’s Peace Index) reconfirms what we already know: Israelis are quite apprehensive about doing it all alone, without American support:
The present survey’s data clearly show that the public (57%) relies more on the judgment of the heads of the defense establishment, including the Chief of Staff and the heads of the Mossad and the Israel Security Agency, than on that the judgment of the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister (28%), who—according to reports—favor a military attack on Iran before Iran acquires nuclear capability. The differences of opinion on this issue based on the respondents’ self-definition in the political-security sphere are huge.
Take a look at the chart:
Thus, if the military truly opposes an attack, it is obvious that the public will take the military’s side and not the side of the political leadership.
We also learn from this survey that Israelis – as I’ve explained many times in the past – are more likely to want Mitt Romney to win the November election:
Whereas 40% of the respondents surveyed put more trust in the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, than in Barack Obama, only 19% put more trust in Obama (the rest have no definite opinion on the matter). A segmentation according to political-security camps shows that on the left, 37% see Obama as better for Israel, 17% see Romney as more concerned about Israel’s interests, and 14% see no substantial differences between the two. In the center, only 20% regard Obama as more concerned about Israel’s interests, 39% choose Romney, and 14.5% do not see a difference. On the right, however, 13% think Obama will be more concerned about Israel, 52% think this is true of Romney, and 8% expect both of them to be concerned about Israel to the same extent.
While we keep track of Israelis’ view both regarding an attack on Iran and US presidential preferences – it is important to note that there’s one similarity between these two issues: In both cases public opinion doesn’t matter much. Israelis don’t have the necessary information with which to determine if an Israeli attack will be the right move. And they have no real impact on American elections.