Benzion, Uri, Assaf Gal, Shosh Shahrabani, and Eran Zaidise. “‘The Price of Freedom’ – Factors Affecting Public Support for the Release of a Captive Soldier: The Case of Gilad Shalit.” Economics Bulletin 35.4 (2015): 2184-96.
This study examines the public support determinants for the release of terrorists in exchange for a single captive soldier. A sample of 751 Israelis were presented a questionnaire, in which the exchange price was manipulated into two versions: one in which no specific prices were mentioned, and another which presented a context-specific prisoner exchange. The results show that respondents who answered the non-specific version displayed greater support than those presented with specific details. Additionally, we found that soldiers tended to support the exchange more than civilians, and women showed greater support as compared to men. Our findings provide considerable support for the effect of framing and provide further evidence that decision-makers as well as media experts can guide public opinion.
While the state’s blueprints for the social media future are currently being imagined by officials in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the political effects of this project are far from certain. What will digital statecraft mean for Israel’s relations with neighboring Arab states? How might it impact the everyday functioning of the Israeli military occupation and the everyday lives of Palestinians living under its thumb? For even as events in Egypt and Tunisia concretized state investment in social media as an information platform, and also as a tool for counter-insurgency, these revolutions raised other political specters as well. “We cannot but be impressed,” IDF spokesman Avi Benayahu noted recently in relation to current events in the Arab World, “at how Western technology harms regimes…one cell phone camera can harm a regime more than any intelligence operation can” (Fyler 2011). The fact that social media are concurrently employed by anti-occupation activists, Jewish and Palestinian, on both sides of the Green Line separating Israel proper from its occupied territories, is something that state officials interviewed for this article did not wish to address-and herein lie the risks. When viewed with the Arab Spring in mind, these countervailing digital trends raise the possibility of a very different digital future in Israel-far from that imagined in the IDF’s new media offices.