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Abstract

The study investigated the effect of severe terror attacks on Israeli-Jewish public opinion regarding peace in a context of progress toward peace (1994–1997) compared to a context of conflict escalation (2001–2002). We hypothesized that ideological orientations supporting peace (doves) or opposing it (hawks), as well as the social context in which terror occurs, would moderate its effects. We used the database of Peace Index polls, administered monthly to representative samples of Israeli Jews. Polls pose three recurring questions regarding peace. We selected eight polls conducted within a week or less following a severe terror attack, and matched each to a “control” poll, taken at the nearest available time and not preceded by terror. Findings showed that during the 1990s, hawks' opinions regarding peace became less favorable following terror, whereas doves exhibited minimal opinion change. During 2001–2002, however, doves' opinions regarding peace became less favorable following terror, whereas hawks' support for peace increased while their belief in peace did not change. This suggests that the effect of terror on opinions regarding peace varies according to ideological orientations and the transitional context in which terror occurs, implying that contextual factors from multiple levels may interact to affect individuals' opinions. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.