By 58% – 27%, Israelis oppose Golan withdrawal
A poll this week has shown that one-third of the country believes it would be legitimate for soldiers to refuse orders to remove settlements from the Golan Heights. The poll, carried out by Ma’agar Mohot for a conference entitled “War at home? From Disengagement to the Golan Heights” that was held last week at the Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee, asked what soldiers should do if ordered in the future to evacuate Jewish communities in the Golan Heights. Sixty-seven percent of the respondents who had an opinion said the soldiers should carry out the evacuation, while 33 percent said they should not. Among respondents who identified themselves as voters for right-wing parties, the number saying the soldiers should not carry out the orders reached 41 percent. The poll also found that 58 per cent of Israelis opposed the proposition that Israel must withdraw from the Golan Heights, as opposed to 27 percent who believe it must, with a further 15 percent saying that it depended on conditions and circumstances. The poll also found that 54% of the respondents said that the Golan Heights issue would either “influence” or “greatly influence” which party they decided to vote for in the upcoming elections.
Udi Lebel, a political scientist at Kinneret College, said this was the first time such a large percentage of the population gave legitimacy to refuse IDF orders. Lebel said that according to polls that would be presented at the conference on Thursday, opposition to withdrawal from the Golan was greater even than opposition to dividing Jerusalem. “If we are talking about a representative sample that reflects the positions of the population, and the army is a people’s army, then every third soldier will oppose evacuation, and in light of this it is doubtful it would be possible to carry out a withdrawal,” Lebel said. The poll also found that a majority of the population is opposed to a full withdrawal from the Golan in exchange for full peace with Syria (Herb Keinon, ‘Don’t obey Golan evacuation order,’ Jerusalem Post, November 24, 2008).