A survey published on Ynet last week and recounted in the Jerusalem Post said 58 percent of Israeli Jews believe that “two states for two peoples” should be the basis of any agreement with the Palestinians. Thirty-seven percent disagreed, and 5 percent said they didn’t know.
So, there is a majority support for a two-state solution. Unfortunately, the article didn’t indicate if that tally is any changed from previous surveys – if such have been taken. So, we don’t know just how the public mood is changing.
The poll showed a gap between religious and secular Jews: 73 percent of the secular population favor idea, while 70 percent of the national-religious and haredi populations opposed. So far as I can see, the secular-religious split doesn’t tell us anything nothing new. But significant percentages of each group actually agree with the other. There are 30 percent minorities – significant numbers, really – of religious who believe in a two-state solution and vice versa for those opposed. Could these findings suggest new political alliances for creative thinkers?
Rabbi Donniel Hartman made an eloquent case for the moral rightness of the two-state solution in his recent column:
It is obviously questionable whether Oslo has produced a beneficial peace process; what is not questionable is its profound contribution to the Jewish moral political discourse of modern Israel….
What I am arguing, however, is for the continually proud and vocal adoption of the two-state solution as our only political horizon. To do so is to maintain the quality of Jewish values in our political horizon. To fail to do so is to seriously damage the moral and Jewish fiber of Israeli society. Read the full column here.
There was also a wide difference depending on age groups, with 53 percent of survey respondents under 30 being opposed to the idea, and 63 percent of those over 50 agreeing with it.
I found that youth-age split more surprising and interesting. Does this suggest a narrowing window of time: that is, the longer this stalemate lasts, is there less likelihood of a solution as the younger generation has less interest or belief in a two-state solution? Is it because of a larger religious component among younger Israelis prompted by high religious birthrates? Is it a generation radicalized by the Palestinian terror war of the early 2000s and that has already fought two wars in the last three years?
There are many efforts of young people aimed at a two-state solution. One Voice is perhaps the leading group. But is that group a minority effort? Can it overcome the mass feelings of cynicism and anger against the Palestinians? Is a two-state solution – the morally correct one, as Rabbi Hartman says – in danger of falling out of our grasp?