Apparently, not enough. A public opinion survey commissioned by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) reveals: the majority of Jewish-Israelis believe the Jordan Valley is sovereign Israeli territory, and think that most of the residents of the Jordan Valley are Jewish-Israelis. In actuality, the Jordan Valley is an occupied territory, and most of its residents are Palestinians.
Some key findings:
- Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the Jewish-Israeli respondents were not aware of the fact that the Jordan Valley is an occupied territory, in which Israel is not sovereign.
- More than 80% of those asked are either wrong or ignorant about the composition of the Jordan Valley population – thinking that the population of the Jordan Valley is mostly or only Israeli Jewish, when in fact it is made up of 10,000 settlers and 65,000 Palestinians. Only 17% of the Jewish-Israeli respondents had a clear picture of the population composition of the Jordan Valley.
- Nearly 40% of those surveyed had not visited the Jordan Valley over the past decade, and 28% visited it only once or twice during that period.
An interpretation of the survey concludes that the fact that Israelis wrongly believe that the Jordan Valley is part of the sovereign State of Israel, and is mostly occupied by Israelis, probably enhances the emotional support for the position that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has presented – that the Jordan Valley is essential for Israel’s security.
The public opinion survey was implemented by Dahlia Scheindlin, and the data were collected by the New Wave Studies Institute. The survey was conducted through telephone interviews with 500 adult, Hebrew-speaking Jews, on 31 May and 1 June 2011.
Dahlia Scheindlin, who authored and analyzed the survey for ACRI: “Because Israelis lack basic knowledge about the status of the Jordan Valley, they are more likely to uncritically follow the line presented by Israeli authorities. That’s why it is so easy for decision-makers to shape Israeli public opinion regarding the Jordan Valley, now that it is suddenly on the agenda.”
To download the complete survey data and analysis, click here.
To download a map of the Jordan Valley and the Northern Dead Sea, courtesy of B’Tselem, click here.