Last Updated: Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:12 am (KSA) 08:12 am (GMT)

Israelis prefer preemptive strike to nuclear Iran: poll

Israel has said frequently it is keeping all options open for responding to Iran’s nuclear program, which it says poses an existential threat to the Jewish state. (File photo)
Israel has said frequently it is keeping all options open for responding to Iran’s nuclear program, which it says poses an existential threat to the Jewish state. (File photo)

Nearly two-thirds of Israeli Jews believe that the consequences for the Jewish state of a nuclear-armed Iran would be worse than those of an Israeli attack on the Islamic Republic, a poll showed.

The poll, published in Haaretz newspaper on Monday, found that 65 percent of Jewish Israelis agreed with the statement that “the price Israel would have to pay for living with the threat of an Iranian bomb would be greater than the price it would pay for attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

Commissioned by the right-leaning Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the survey found 26 percent disagreed with the statement, while nine percent said they were unsure.

It also found that six out of 10 respondents -- 60 percent -- agreed that only military action could halt Iran’s nuclear program, which Tehran claims is for peaceful civilian purposes but Israel and much of the international community believes masks a weapons drive.

But another 37 percent disagreed with the claim that only military action could halt Iran's nuclear program, which has prompted the international community to impose tough sanctions on Tehran’s exports and financial sector.

A majority of respondents, 64 percent, said they were confident that Israel’s military forces could “significantly” damage Iran’s nuclear program, compared to 29 percent who disagreed.

And 63 percent said they believed Israel would suffer the same consequences whether an attack against Iran was carried out by the Jewish state or the United States.

The poll surveyed 505 Jewish Israelis, religious and secular, Haaretz said, without specifying a margin of error.

Israel has said frequently it is keeping all options open for responding to Iran’s nuclear program, which it says poses an existential threat to the Jewish state.

But the United States and other countries have called for time to allow biting sanctions to take effect.

Earlier this month, a poll published by Haaretz showed that 58 percent of Israelis opposed a strike on Iran without U.S. backing.

The same poll, conducted by among 497 Israelis, also found that over half of the respondents trusted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to deal with the Iran issue.

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