by Shlomo Cesana
Survey finds 64% of Jewish Israelis believe Israel should retain sovereignty over Jerusalem and its environs for national security reasons
The Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City Photo: Oren Ben Hakoon
A new survey has found that 70% of Israelis believe it is important for Jews to be able to pray at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and that any future diplomatic agreement should ensure Israel's continued sovereignty over the site.
The survey, conducted among a representative sample of Israel's adult Jewish population, was commissioned ahead of the launch of the independent conservative think tank the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies.
Around 58% of respondents said they support Jerusalem's existence as a metropolitan city that includes the Gush Etzion cluster of settlements and the Binyamin region. Sixty-four percent said Israel should retain sovereignty over Jerusalem and its environs for security and nationalistic reasons.
The findings seem to support the recent push to apply Israeli sovereignty to the settlements of the Greater Jerusalem area: Maaleh Adumim, Givat Ze'ev, Beitar Illit and Gush Etzion, joining them to the territory of the city of Jerusalem.
In a related move earlier this week, Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Zeev Elkin proposed legislation to establish a separate municipal authority for a number of Arab neighborhoods and disconnect them from the Jerusalem Municipality.
According to Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies President Efraim Inbar, "The survey clearly indicates that the Israeli public sees Israel's continued control of all of Jerusalem and its environs" as vital to Israel's national security interests. He said this was in "complete opposition to the political Left's aspirations for the city's division."
Inbar said the new institute would serve to "strengthen the Israeli public's healthy conservative instincts" and bring a realistic insight to the forefront of Israeli diplomatic-security discussion.
"Up until now, the center-right in Israel has failed to establish an extensive intellectual infrastructure for its positions. The establishment of the institute is designed to correct this reality," he said.
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