As the United States gears up for a possible strike on Syria, which would directly effect the region, only 16.4 percent of Israeli Jews feel their security situation will worse in 5774.The US is expected to go to war as early as next week against Syria, which has vowed to “set Israel on fire” in retaliation. Lebanon could get embroiled, which could lead to Hezbollah unleashing its stockpile of 60,000 missiles and rockets. And an International Atomic Energy Association’s report last week indicated that Iran has escalated its nuclear program.

Nevertheless, only 16.4 percent of Israeli Jews believe their security situation will worsen in the new year of 5774 that starts on Wednesday evening, according to the Peace Index, an Israel Democracy Institute/Tel Aviv University poll released on Tuesday.

The surveyors found that 46.1% of Israeli Jews believe their security will remain the same, while 28.3% think it will improve.

Among Israeli Arabs, 29.8% believe their security situation will improve, compared to 26.9% who believe it will get worse, and 28.6% who say it will remain the same.

Asked how the country’s foreign relations would change over the coming year, Israeli Arabs were much more likely to predict that things would get worse. Among Arabs, 35.1% said they would worsen, 21% said they would improve, and 28.8% said they would remain the same.

Among Jews, 16.6% said they would worsen, 24.1% said they would improve, and 49.8% said they would remain the same.

Only 20% of Israelis (Arabs and Jews combined) believe their financial situation will improve, compared to 33.7% who believe it will worsen and 36.2% who feel it will remain the same.

Just 15% believe social gaps will narrow in the coming year, while 37.8% think they will get wider and 39.4% say they will remain the same.

Ahead of a year in which nearly the entire country faces municipal elections, 51.4% believe that their leaders’ level of attentiveness to the public will remain the same. The proportion saying it will improve is 17.4%; those saying it will worsen, 18.9%.

Regarding Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic talks, Israelis are as pessimistic now as in past Peace Index polls. Among Israeli Jews, only 7.7% strongly believe negotiations will lead to peace with the Palestinians over the coming years. Twentyfour percent say they somewhat believe, 20.6% lean toward not believing, and 46.5% do not believe at all.

Among Israeli Arabs, 16.5% strongly believe negotiations will lead to peace, 30.3% believe somewhat, 24% somewhat don’t believe, and 23.5% do not believe at all.

Despite their pessimism about chances of the negotiations’ success, Israelis still favor coming to the table. Some 68% of the public supports the talks, 27% opposes the negotiations, and 5% does not know or had no answer.

Fifty-four percent of Israeli Jews disagree with Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett’s recent assertion that the two-state solution is dead, while 41% agree with him. Among Israeli Arabs, 58% disagree and 32% agree.

Forty-eight percent of Jewish Israelis agree with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s statement that a peace agreement is vital to preventing Israel from becoming a binational state without a Jewish majority in the foreseeable future, while 45% disagree.

Among Arab Israelis, 34% agree and 50% do not.

In light of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s recent statement that if an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is signed, the Palestinians will see it as the end of the historic conflict between the two peoples, 78% of Jewish respondents do not believe that the Palestinians would truly see such an agreement as marking the conflict’s end, while 20% do believe it.

Among Arab respondents, 48% do not believe and 44% do.

Asked about US President Barack Obama’s commitment to Israel’s security, 71% of Israeli Jews and 82% of Israeli Arabs believe that Obama is committed to it, while 27% of Israeli Jews and 8% of Israeli Arabs believe he is not.

The survey was conducted last Tuesday and Wednesday among 601 respondents who constituted a representative sample of the country’s adult population. The margin of error for a sample of this size is 4.5 percentage points.

Meanwhile, a separate poll taken for The Jerusalem Post’s Hebrew sister publication Sof Hashavua found that 74% of Israelis considered themselves happy with life and 71% were optimistic that their personal situation would improve in 5774.

Asked who they wanted to lead the country, 23% said Netanyahu, 10% said opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich, 7% were for former prime minister Ehud Olmert, 6% wanted Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and former IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi, 5% were for Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, and just 2% wanted Finance Minister Yair Lapid.

The poll of 505 respondents was taken from Thursday to Monday and had a 4.3-percentage point margin of error!!

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