Photo Credit: Torat Lechima Facebook screenshot
March of the Mothers’ founder Sima Hason, December 17, 2023.

A Panels poll conducted for the right-wing group March of the Mothers between January 16-17, found that in response to the question, “Should Israel agree to withdraw IDF forces from the Gaza Strip to obtain the release of the abductees?” 70.5% of respondents said “No,” 18.5% said “Yes,” and 11% said “I don’t know.”

March of the Mothers was founded after October 7 by Sima Hason, the mother of two Golani fighters, who took to the Gaza crossings in December to stop the “humanitarian trucks” that were being allowed in while Hamas was holding on to Israeli hostages and the International Red Cross refused to try and visit them (see video below).


Today, MoM is one of the leading players in the post-October 7 political reality in which traditional parties on the left and the right in Israel are being influenced by street warriors.

The Panels poll that was released on Thursday appears to reflect the views of the common man on the street in Israel, although I am not happy with the size of its sample, 509 age 18+, representing the Jewish population in Israel, and the high sampling error of ± 4.4%.

Interestingly, the response to the first question that was posed by the pollsters, about the priorities of the war, was split down the middle:

What is more important:

Releasing the hostages – 46.6%
Victory in the war on Hamas – 44.8%
Don’t know – 8.6%

But the above results do not at all mean that Israeli Jews prefer releasing the hostages over defeating Hamas, as was shown in the opening question and this one:

What’s the best way to attain the release of the hostages?

Apply military pressure against Hamas so it agrees to acceptable conditions for the release of the hostages – 81.5%
Stop the fighting and negotiate with Hamas – 10%
Don’t know – 8.4%

This attitude was confirmed by the question, Should Israel agree to every Hamas demand to attain the release of the hostages?

Yes – 12.4%
No – 72.9%
Don’t know – 14.7%

Should Israel agree to the demand that Hamas remain in power in the Gaza Strip to attain the release of the hostages?

Yes – 8.1%
No – 79.4%
Don’t know – 12.6%

Now, here is where things get more complicated, suggesting that the respondents are capable of complex considerations. Should Israel agree to a lengthy ceasefire to obtain the release of the hostages?

Yes – 38.7%
No – 47.2%
Don’t know – 14.1%

The above response necessarily corresponds with the question that followed, Will a long ceasefire to enable the release of the hostages result in more casualties among the soldiers when the fighting resumes?

Yes – 71.9%
No – 7.9%
Don’t know – 20.2%

This means that respondents who supported a ceasefire to save the hostages were aware of the IDF casualties such a ceasefire would entail, and opted for it nevertheless.

The pollsters asked how each respondent voted in the November 1, 2022 election. 12.6% did not provide an answer for a variety of reasons. Out of the remaining respondents, 48.9% voted for Netanyahu’s coalition parties (before the unity government). 16.9% voted for Gantz and Liberman. 21.6% voted for outright leftist or Arab parties.

Respondents’ religious status was:

Secular – 43%
Traditional – 34.6
Religious – 22.4%

In other words, the poll is a little skewed to the right, but not by much, assuming that those who refused to disclose their vote were split down the middle.

There’s a lot to be pondered in these responses which in my opinion reflect authentically the mixed feelings of Israeli Jews on Day 105 of the war.


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