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Posts Tagged ‘poll’

Palestinian Authority Arabs Want US To Mind Its Own Business

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

More than two-thirds, 68 percent to be exact, of Palestinian Authority Arabs believe that American intervention in Middle East policies harms stability in the region, according to a new poll carried out in mid-September by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion.

The same survey also revealed that a tiny majority of 50.3 percent favors the resumption of talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, but the number jumped to 62.5 percent if Israel were to empty its jails of Palestinian Authority Arabs.

If peace talks fail, a “third intifada” will break out, according to 58.4 cent of those polled.

PA negotiators and leaders have been complaining that the current talks are going nowhere. Three months have gone by in the talks, which were re-started on the basis of a nine-month period for results.

Majority of American Jews are Intermarried

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

NEW YORK (JTA) — First the good news: There are a lot more Jews in America than you may have thought — an estimated 6.8 million, according to a new study.

Now the bad news: A growing proportion of American Jews are unlikely to raise their children Jewish or connect with Jewish institutions. The proportion of Jews who say they have no religion and are Jewish only on the basis of ancestry, ethnicity or culture is growing rapidly, and two-thirds of them are not raising their children Jewish at all.

Overall, the intermarriage rate is at 58 percent, up from 43 percent in 1990 and 17 percent in 1970.

The data on Jewish engagement come from the Pew Research Center Survey of U.S. Jews, a telephone survey of 3,475 Jews nationwide conducted between February and June and released on Tuesday.

The population estimate, released Monday, comes from a synthesis of existing survey data conducted by the Steinhardt Social Research Institute and the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University.

While the estimate is likely to be a matter of some debate by demographers and social scientists, it is the Pew study that offers an in-depth portrait that may influence Jewish policymaking for years to come.

Among the more notable findings of the Pew survey:

* Thirty-two percent of Jews born after 1980 — the so-called millennial generation — identify as Jews of no religion, compared to 19 percent of baby boomers and just 7 percent of Jews born before 1927. Overall, 22 percent of U.S. Jews describe themselves as having no religion, meaning they are much less connected to Jewish organizations and much less likely to be raising their children Jewish.

* The emotional attachment to Israel has held steady over the last decade, with 69 percent of respondents saying they feel attached or very attached to Israel. Forty-three percent of respondents said they had been to Israel.

* Far more respondents said having a good sense of humor was essential to their Jewish identity than observing Jewish law — 42 percent compared to 19 percent.

* Approximately one-quarter of Jews said religion is very important in their lives, compared to 56 percent among Americans generally.

Among Jewish denominations, the Reform movement remains the largest with 35 percent of respondents identifying as Reform. The second-largest group is Jews of no denomination (30 percent), followed by Conservative (18 percent) and Orthodox (10 percent).

As with other studies, the Pew study found that the Orthodox share of the American Jewish population is likely to grow because Orthodox Jews tend to be younger and have larger families than Jews generally.

In addition, while past surveys showed about half of respondents raised as Orthodox were no longer Orthodox, the Orthodox retention rate appears to be improving, with just a 17 percent falloff among 18- to 29-year-olds.

Most denominational switching among American Jews, however, remains in the direction of less traditional Judaism.

In the Pew survey, 90 percent of those who identified as Jews by religion and are raising children said they are raising them Jewish. By comparison, less than one-third of those who identified themselves as Jews of no religion are raising their kids as Jewish.

Among inmarried Jews, 96 percent are raising their children as Jews by religion (as opposed to ethnicity), compared to 45 percent among intermarried Jews.

On Jewish observance, some 70 percent of respondents to the Pew survey said they participated in a Passover seder in 2012 and 53 percent said they fasted for all or part of Yom Kippur that year. The numbers represent declines from the 2000-01 National Jewish Population Survey conducted by the Jewish Federations of North America, which found seder participation rates at 78 percent and Yom Kippur fasting at 60 percent.

While most of those surveyed by Pew said they felt a strong connection to Israel, and 23 percent reported having visited the Jewish state more than once, the respondents expressed significant reservations about the current Israeli government’s policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians.

Forty-four percent said West Bank settlement construction hurts Israel’s security interests, and only 17 percent said continued settlement construction is helpful to Israeli security. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said the Israeli government is making a sincere peace effort with the Palestinians.

Yair Lapid Losing Popularity

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

The Yesh Atid party, chaired by Yair Lapid, continues to lose popularity in the latest poll, with Meretz picking up the pieces and Likud, Jewish Home and Labor holding on to their strength.

If elections were held today, Lapid’s party would win only 12 seats, compared with 19 Knesset Members that it won in the elections last February, according to the Smith polls commissioned by Globes business newspaper.

In the previous poll, Yesh Atid won 14 seats, and the reasons for Finance Minister Lapid having fallen into disfavor range from his cuts in welfare support and child allowances to tax hikes and his undiplomatic remarks that his critics are like “nervous schnauzers left out in the rain.”

The left-wing Meretz party picked up another two seats in the latest poll, which now gives it 11 projected seats in the Knesset, almost double its current strength.

The Likud-Beiteinu, Labor and Jewish Home parties are unchanged, and Tzipi Livni managed to pick up one seat after seeing her popularity plummet in the last poll. Her HaTnuah party now would win four seats, two less than it currently has. Shas lost one seat in the poll to the United Torah Judaism Haredi party.

Poll: Americans Not Eager to Attack Syria

Monday, August 26th, 2013

While some lawmakers, including Sen. Bob Corker, republican of Tennessee, senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, are pressuring President Barack Obama to take military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad, Americans are not excited about the prospect of a new war.

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted Aug. 19-23 and released Sunday, about 60 percent of Americans said Obama shouldn’t intervene in Syria’s civil war, while only 9 percent favored action.

More Americans would support U.S. intervention if the use of chemical weapons were to be confirmed, with 25 percent in favor, 46 percent opposed. But an Aug. 13 Reuters/|Ipsos poll asked the same question and got responses of 30.2 percent in support of intervention to 41.6 opposed.

U.S. military assets in the region are being intensified, but no decisions were announced after an emergency White House meeting that included Vice President Joe Biden and top defense, intelligence and diplomatic officials.

Lapid’s Popularity Collapses in New Poll

Monday, August 5th, 2013

A new Knesset Channel shows Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid in a severe meltdown in popularity, removing any doubts of the political law of gravity that the higher and faster a newbie’s star rises, the quicker it falls.

An overwhelming 78 percent of the respondents said they do not trust Lapid as Finance Minister, Globes reported. An even larger majority – 82 percent –ruled him out as worthy to replace Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Only 43 percent of the respondents said they would cast their ballots again for Lapid, and 54 percent said he has not kept his promises. If elections were held today, Yesh Atid would drop from 19 to 13 seats, and Likud-Beiteinu would more or less remain at its current strength. Jewish Home, led by Naftali Bennet, would soar from 12 to 16, and the other parties would stage marginal gains or losses.

Is Netanyahu a New Ariel Sharon in Disguise?

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

A new poll has surprised observers and shows that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party has soared past its current strength while Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party has taken a nosedive in popularity. Labor also is suddenly more popular.

The Smith surveying company including carried out the poll for the Globes business newspaper, which reported, “The resumption of the peace talks with the Palestinians is benefiting the Likud, restoring its political fortunes after a long slide.”

Polls themselves can be inaccurate, cause and effect are not necessarily obvious, and the public, especially the Israeli public, can be very fickle.

But the bottom line is that Netanyahu is solidly up front, perhaps reflecting the public’s feeling of less uncertainty in the short term, regardless of the incredible gamble Netanyahu has taken for the long term.

No one knew what was going on inside Ariel Sharon’s mind when he flabbergasted the public and turned traitor to the Likud’s own policy platform by carrying out the removal of all Israeli civilians and soldiers from Gaza, even at the expense of bolting the Likud and forming the Kadima party.

Critics assume that he did so to make a bundle for him and a friend by establishing a casino in northern Gaza, which never got off the drawing boards.

However, when people get older, especially when they are in a position of power, their egos do strange things to the brain. Perhaps they want their place in history, or perhaps they think they have one last chance in life to save the world.

The same may not be true for Prime Minister Netanyahu, who will be 64 in October, but the fact is that in the past three years, he has turned from Mr. Hawk to almost Mr. Dove, constantly caving in to pressure from President Obama.

Whether the White House is offering him something in return concerning Iran is conjecture, but Netanyahu’s capitulation – freeing terrorists and chasing surrender –  is reminiscent of Yitzchak Rabin’s. He once promised he would never shake the hand of Yasser Arafat, but Rabin ended up signing a peace agreement with him.

Globes noted that Netanyahu sat twice this week in the Knesset cafeteria, where journalists and Cabinet ministers mingle, after appearing there only once in the previous four years. Apparently, the man feels more comfortable with journalists now that he has indicated he is willing to toy with the left-wing media’s agenda.

It would take an earthquake or two to make a Netanyahu a Nobel Peace Prize  Laureate, but for the time being, he would be happy to settle for a more comfortable position in the coalition government.

The latest poll proves that Netanyahu has made mincemeat out of Lapid and left Bennett with just about the same support he had. The national religious crowd, like Shas, always goes to bat for its own leader, but the team never is able to fill the empty bleacher seats with more enthusiasts.

On the surface, the resumption of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority was the major event this week that might have changed the Likud’s and Yesh Atid’s fortunes in the poll.

Lapid is increasingly being seen by his supporters as having reneged on his promises to help the middle class and is being throwing into the same ”capitalist” class as Netanyahu.

That would explain why respondents in the poll dumped Lapid and gave Labor, headed by Shelly Yachimovich, a whopping 18 seats, five more than it holds in the current Knesset.

Rounding out the list, Meretz continues to gain strength adding one more projected seat to come up 10 Knesset members, four more than now, Shas is making a comeback to its present strength of 11 seats, Naftalli Bennett’s Jewish Home party picks up one more for 13 mandates, and Tzipi Livni is languishing with three seats, half her party’s current strength. She is not getting any Brownie points for being Netanyahu’s errand girl.

Last is the polls is Shaul Mofaz’s Kadima, which would go into its well-deserved political graveyard and be shut out of the next Knesset.

Nothing ‘Reasonable’ about Mideast Divide

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Thanks to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to swallow a painful and embarrassing concession to please the Palestinians, Secretary of State John Kerry had his moment of triumph.

In announcing the start of a new round of Middle East peace talks, Kerry has seemingly justified the way he has concentrated his efforts on an issue that was not in crisis mode and with little chance of resolution while treating other more urgent problems such as Egypt, Syria, and the Iranian nuclear threat as lower priorities.

But now that he has had his victory, the focus turns to the talks where few, if any, observers think there is a ghost of a chance of that the negotiations can succeed despite Kerry’s call for “reasonable compromises.”

The reason for that is that despite the traditional American belief that the two sides can split the difference on their disagreements, as Kerry seems to want, the problem is much deeper than drawing a new line on a map.

Ironically, proof of this comes from a new poll that some are touting as evidence that both Israelis and Palestinians support a two-state solution. The poll was a joint project of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah. It shows, among other often-contradictory results, that a majority of Israelis (62 percent) supports a two-state solution while 33 percent oppose it. Among Palestinians, 53 percent support and 46 percent oppose the two-state solution.

But the question to ask about this poll and the conflict is what the two sides mean by a two-state solution. The answer comes in a subsequent query:

We asked Israelis and Palestinians about their readiness for a mutual recognition as part of a permanent status agreement and after all issues in the conflict are resolved and a Palestinian State is established. Our current poll shows that 57% of the Israeli public supports such a mutual recognition and 37% opposes it. Among Palestinians, 42% support and 56% oppose this step.

In other words, Israelis see a two-state solution as a way to permanently end the conflict and achieve peace. But since a majority of Palestinians cannot envision mutual recognition even after all issues are resolved and they get a state, they obviously see it as merely a pause before the conflict would begin anew on terms decidedly less advantageous to Israel.

There are many reasons why the peace negotiations are likely to fail. The Palestinians are deeply split, with Gaza being ruled by the Islamists of Hamas who still won’t even contemplate talks with Israel, let alone peace. Kerry has praised Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas, but he is weak and hasn’t the ability to make a peace deal stick even in the unlikely event he signs one.

Though Netanyahu went out on a political limb to enable the talks to begin by releasing scores of Palestinian terrorists, Abbas has shown in the past that he will say no, even when offered virtually everything he has asked for. Netanyahu will rightly drive a harder bargain and refuse to contemplate a deal that involves a complete retreat to the 1967 lines or a Palestinian state that isn’t demilitarized. But it’s hard to imagine Abbas ever recognizing the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn.

The real problem, however, isn’t about where negotiators would draw those lines. As the poll indicates, even after Israel withdraws from almost all of the West Bank (reports indicate Netanyahu is ready to give up 86 percent of it), a substantial majority of Palestinians still can’t fathom the possibility of mutual recognition and normal relations.

How can that be?

The reason is very simple and is not something Kerry or his lead negotiator Martin Indyk (a veteran of numerous diplomatic failures who hasn’t seemed to learn a thing from any of them) can fix. Palestinian nationalism was born in the 20th century as a reaction to Zionism, not by focusing on fostering a separate identity and culture from that of other Arab populations. That doesn’t mean Palestinians aren’t now a separate people with their own identity, but it does explain why they see that identity as indistinguishable from the effort to make Israel disappear.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/nothing-reasonable-about-mideast-divide/2013/08/01/

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