Divided yet United: Israeli-Jewish Attitudes Toward the Oslo Process

Journal article

Hermann, Tamar & Ephraim Yuchtman-Yaar (2002) Divided yet United: Israeli-Jewish Attitudes Toward the Oslo Process, Journal of Peace Research 39 (5).

This article examines Israeli-Jewish attitudes toward the Oslo process, as it has been unfolding in the years 1994-2001. We found that despite the turbulence and frequent crises associated with it, the aggregated attitudes toward the Oslo process have been remarkably stable during most of this period. We explain this stability by the persistent division of Israeli society into two entrenched publics - pro-Oslo and anti-Oslo - each of which displays distinct sociopolitical and demographic attributes. However, we have also found that, along with its bifurcated structure, Israeli-Jewish public opinion consists of yet another, unifying layer. The latter was manifested in the largely consensual reactions to critical internal and external events related to the Oslo process, as well as in common views about the existential threat posed by the Palestinians to Israel's security and its continuation as a Jewish state. We discuss these results in the context of recent debate about the relevance of public opinion to foreign policymaking in general, and consider their bearing on Israeli policies regarding the Oslo process in particular.

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