June 5, 2017 marks 50 years since the Six-Day War.
During the 1967 Six-Day War, the State of Israel conquered territory that tripled its size. Though Israel later ceded the clear majority of that territory in the context of a peace agreement with Egypt, the war changed the contours of Israeli politics and opened an ideological rift that has been at its core ever since. Today, advocates of “Greater Israel” see continued control of the territories in Judea and Samaria, and the strengthening of Jewish settlement there, as an expression of the Jewish people’s historical right to the Land of Israel and as a vital security necessity. Those who favor withdrawal from Judea and Samaria believe territorial compromise is a prerequisite for peace and that perpetuation of the current situation, in which residents of the same area do not enjoy equal rights, casts a heavy cloud over Israel’s democratic future.
The Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research (then the Guttman Center) carried out a series of surveys just before, during and after the Six-Day War.
The first survey was done by handing out surveys at organized events in several key Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Ramle and Jerusalem. The second, third and fourth surveys were done via face-to-face interviews of 2,000 people in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Beersheba, as well as a few smaller cities.
The results of the surveys were originally provided to the government for its information and use.
Survey 1: Before the war — the election meetings on June 3, 1967
The feeling among the public:
- Only 12% thought that Israel was waiting for a good opportunity to attack Arab countries.
- 63% thought Israel was waiting to see how much assistance it would receive from international forces.
- 77% thought that the supply of food to shops was good.
- 59% were very worried about an outbreak of World War III.
- 87% percent defined a war between Israel and all the Arab states as something that worried them.
Survey 2: On the eve of the war and during the war — June 5, 1967, as part of the reports submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office:
- Half (50%) did their shopping earlier than usual.
- 82% said that they were aware of grocery stores that had raised their prices, but 75 percent said that they had not encountered this phenomenon.
- Trust in the media: Above 90%.
- 94% thought that the Voice of Israel did good work during the war.
Survey 3: June 11–16, as part of the reports submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office
Holding on to the territories that had been conquered:
- 94% thought that Israel should continue to hold on to Jerusalem’s Old City;
- 81% felt that Israel should hold onto the West Bank;
- 72% felt that Israel should hold onto Gaza;
- 82% felt the same regarding Sharm el-Sheikh;
- And 33% felt the same regarding the Sinai Desert.
Trust in the government:
- 89% thought that the government was coping well with the problems presented by the current situation.
- 72% felt that the expanded government should remain in power indefinitely, or at least until Israel was well-established in every way, including economically and politically.
The peace process:
- 48% said that the Arab countries would not be willing to talk about peace after the war.
- 46% thought that they may be or would be willing to talk about peace.
- 62% were in favor of small concessions for the sake of peace, but only 9% were in favor of large concessions.
- More than 50% read evening newspapers and 40% read morning newspapers.
- 99% listened to the news on the radio at least once a day.
- 54% thought that no credence should be placed in news items that they heard from people but that had not been reported in the newspapers or on the radio.
The way Israel’s citizens perceived Arabs:
- 67% were unwilling to live in a mixed neighborhood.
- 53% were unwilling to have an Arab family living in the same building as them.
- 32% were willing to be friends with Arabs; 21% said that it depends on the circumstances; and 47% were unwilling.
- 58% said while Arabs can make progress, they will never reach the level of the Jews.
- 54% have never visited an Arab home.
- 25% thought that Israeli Arabs should integrate into the life of the country, with all attendant rights and responsibilities;
- 34% thought that they should remain as they were;
- 17% believed that they ought to leave Israel;
- And 14% (such as Avigdor Liberman today, who wants to legalize West Bank settlements) want them to join the Arabs in the territories and establish a state.
The Arabs living in the territories, after Israel won the war:
- 10% were in favor of integrating them into Israeli life with rights and responsibilities;
- 40% were in favor of keeping them under military rule;
- 28% were in favor of transferring them to Arab countries;
- 10% were in favor of allowing them to establish a state of their own;
- And only 2% were in favor of transferring them to Jordan.
A comparison between the three surveys: During the war, one week afterward, and two weeks afterward:
Additional Survey: June 20–26, 1967
Relations between Mizrahi and Ashkenazi Jews:
- 84% believed that relations are good;
- 59% said there was discrimination.
The majority thought that there would be fewer problems between the religious and non-religious because of the war.
A diplomatic solution:
- What is the best way to reach an agreement with the Arab countries?
82% believed that it was via direct talks;
- 6% were in favor of mediation by the UN;
- 8% were in favor of mediation by another country;
- And only 2% thought that reaching an agreement was impossible.
Who are Israel’s friends?
- 38% thought that France would help Israel in the future;
- 93% thought that the United States would help Israel;
- And 70% thought that Russia would harm Israel in some way.
If the news says one thing and people say something else, whom will you usually believe?
- 81% said the newspaper/radio.
The attitude of Israelis toward Arabs in the territories that were won by Israel during the war:
- 51% thought it was too good and wanted to maintain military rule;
- 47% thought relations were exactly as they should be.
Regarding Diaspora Jewry:
- 94% thought Jews who live abroad must support the State of Israel;
- 84% thought that Jews who live abroad should focus on maintaining their own communities;
- Only 43% agreed that Jews who live abroad have the right to express an opinion about Israel’s internal affairs;
- And 55% believed that the Jews who live in Israel are a different nation from the Jews who live abroad.
Visits to the territories:
- 95% would travel to visit the Old City, Mount Scopus, or the Mount of Olives;
- 88% would visit Bethlehem or Hebron;
- 62% would visit Jenin, Nablus, or Tukaram;
- 49% would visit Gaza;
- 44% would visit Sinai or Sharm el-Sheikh.
The mood and the concerns: