Most Israelis fear an Islamic regime in Egypt after its president Hosni Mubarak leaves power, an opinion poll published on Thursday in the Yediot Aharonot newspaper indicated.
Of the 500 people questioned by the Mina Tzemah-Dahaf organisation for the top-selling daily, 59% predicted an Islamic regime in a post-Mubarak Egypt while 21% foresaw a secular democratic government.
The survey had a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.
Asked how they saw the repercussions of Mubarak's departure, 65 percent of respondents said they would be negative and only 11 percent said positive. The remainder had no opinion or declined to answer.
Israeli leaders have been raising the spectre of an Iranian-style theocracy taking over Egypt since the start of mass protests against Mubarak's 30-year regime.
"In a time of chaos, an organised Islamic group can take over the state. It happened in Iran and it also happened in other places," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.
Under Mubarak's assassinated predecessor Anwar Sadat, Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979 that saw Egypt getting back all the land occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.
Mubarak on Tuesday said he would step down when Egypt holds its presidential election in September, but protestors rejected this and renewed their call for an immediate end to his 30 years in power.