As the debate over whether to divide the capital intensifies amid terrorist attacks that have politicians and security personnel scrambling for solutions, most Israelis believe that the model of a unified Jerusalem has failed, a poll found this week.
The Israel Democracy Institute conducted the survey by telephone interview with 600 Jewish and Arab Israelis from February 28 to March 1, constituting a representative national sample of the adult population.
With a maximum sampling error of 4.1 percent, and a confidence level of 95%, the surveyors repeated a question first posed to Israelis in 1999: “Do you agree or disagree with the opinion that Jerusalem is actually already divided into two cities – East and West?” A clear majority of Jewish Israelis (61%) agreed that Jerusalem is divided into a western and eastern city, while in 1999 the 44% of respondents thought so, while 49% disagreed.
Approximately 47% of Arab Israelis said the capital is divided, according to the current survey.
The survey found opinions largely drawn along political lines, with the highest proportions of those who said the city is divided coming from members of the Zionist Union (88.5%) and Meretz (85%), while Likud voters were split on the question (49% for each view).
Last month, Zionist Union and opposition leader Isaac Herzog proposed dividing the capital, when he presented a diplomatic plan at the Jerusalem Conference to relinquish Arab neighborhoods to the Palestinian Authority to improve security.
However, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (Likud) has repeatedly rejected any division of the capital.
As for a connection between discrimination against Arabs and terrorism, a majority of the Israeli Jewish public (57%) says there is no connection between discrimination in the areas of healthcare, education and other services against Arab Israelis and Jerusalem Arabs’ recent involvement in attacks against Israeli Jews.