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Majority of Israelis oppose Iran nuclear deal

Nov. 15, 2013 7:32 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 15, 2013 10:40 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Nearly two thirds of Israeli Jews oppose a deal being reached between world powers and Iran on Tehran's controversial nuclear program, the results of a survey published on Friday said.

When asked "Should Israel support or oppose the nuclear agreement being discussed with Iran?" 65.5 percent said they were against it, and 16.2 percent expressed backing for an accord.

The remainder of those asked in the poll conducted by the daily Israel Hayom were undecided.

The question was put to 500 people estimated to be a representative sample of the country's Jewish population, and the survey had a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

No Palestinians with Israeli citizenship - who make up 20 percent of the population - were among the 500.

Israel and world powers suspect Iran's program of uranium enrichment to be a covert drive to acquire a nuclear weapons capability, an allegation vehemently denied.

The survey also showed 52.4 percent supported an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities in the event of a "bad deal" and if Tehran pursued its nuclear ambitions.

But 26.8 percent said they would oppose such an attack.

A strong majority of 68.8 percent said they believed the Israeli military was capable of going it alone in a strike on Iran, however.

Israel is widely thought to be the Middle East's sole - albeit undeclared - nuclear power.

It has clashed publicly with the United States on the draft deal being negotiated between Iran and the so-called P5 1 - Britain, China, France, Russia, the US and Germany.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants international sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program to be tightened even further.

But US President Barack Obama favors the option of talks along with a gradual easing of sanctions.

Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, sent by Netanyahu to Washington to campaign against the nascent nuclear deal, warned Thursday this was not the time to gamble with Israeli security.

With Iran's economy squeezed "now is the precise time to tell them, 'either or.' Either you have a nuclear weapon program, or you have an economy, but you can't have both," the leader of the far right Jewish Home party said in a speech.

Israel fears that a nuclear-armed Iran would be a threat to its very existence, and has not ruled out carrying out a preemptive assault against Tehran's nuclear facilities.
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