There is no question that the visit of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat has made a profound impact on Israelis.
For a week, Israeli television viewers have seen daily interviews with Egyptian officials and men in the Cairo street, hearing Egyptians say over and over that they want peace with Israel.
Louis Guttman, director of the Israeli Institute of Applied Social Research, polling the impact of the Sadat visit, finds:
For the first time since the 1967 war, the majority of Israeli Jews now believe that Egypt really wants a settlement with Israel.
For the first time since the 1973 war, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of Israelis who think a permanent peace is possible.
While for four years, only 10 per cent of these polled thought there would be peace for 10 years, during the Sadat visit the percentage rose to 54. It dropped to 32 per cent after the visit but this is still three times the previous percentage.
The polls also showed that the vast majority of Israelis oppose a return to 1967 borders, as Sadat demands, and that Sadat failed to shake the national consensus against a Palestinian state on the West Bank of the Jordan River.
The vast majority wants nothing to do with Yasser Arafat or his Palestine Liberation Organization, the polls indicate.
It is thought that the most profound impact here of the visit was on Jews from Arab countries who fled or were forced from their homes. This group makes up an important part of Prime Minister Menahem Begin's political base, leading to speculation that devish statements from Egyptians might undermine hawkish attitudes here.
For the first time, a majority of Americans responding to a Louis Harris poll have cited Egypt rather than Israel as the "prime hope" for peace in the Middle East, ABC News reported yesterday.
ABC, which commissioned the poll, said 52 per cent of the respondents feel Egypt is attempting the significant peace initiatives while 48 per cent believe Israel is the prime mover.