Israelis queue for gas masks
Israelis queue outside a gas mask distribution centre in the northern city of Haifa (Reuters)

Israelis remain deeply split over the possible consequences of US-led military action in Syria, with the nation divided along sectarian lines over the likelihood of retaliation by the Syrian regime.

A poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University found that 46% of Jewish Israelis believe US military intervention would provoke revenge attacks against Israel by the Assad regime.

Meanwhile, 42% of Jewish Israelis believe there would be no response against their country by the regime in Damascus.

The view among Israelis of Arab descent is more optimistic, with only 40% believing Assad would seek to attack Israel, and 47% believing he would do nothing.

Asked whether US action would strengthen the American role as "honest broker" in the Middle East, 54% of Israeli Jews thought air strikes would strengthen the US hand.

Fourteen per cent believed US action would harm American interests in the region, while 21% believed there would be no discernible effect in either direction, according to the figures.

On that issue, Israeli Arabs were more closely divided, with 34% believing US status would be diminished, 26% believe it would be strengthened, and 20% believing it would remain unaffected.

Israeli officials have said they believe a retaliatory strike by Syria or Iran, as both countries have threatened, remains unlikely.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday: "Israel is calm and sure of itself, the citizens of Israel know that we are prepared for every possible scenario."

However, the country has seen a run on its gas mask distribution centres over the past week, with thousands flocking to pick up the equipment.

The Israel Defense Force deployed Iron Dome anti-missile batteries in the Tel Aviv area, raised the alert levels of the Patriot and Arrow systems, and cancelled weekend leave for soldiers based in the north.

Netanyahu said: "Despite the low probability that Israel will become involved in what is happening in Syria, we decided to deploy the Iron Dome batteries and other interception systems.

"We are not involved in the civil war in Syria, but let me reiterate, if someone tries to harm Israel's citizens, the Israeli Defense Force will respond with immense power."

Two-thirds of Israelis support a US-led military intervention in Syria, according to a poll for Israel Hayom newspaper, which found that 66.8% of the Israeli population backed an attack, while only 17% were opposed.

Seventy-three per cent of Israelis believe that an attack against Assad's regime will take place, while 71% said they had already equipped themselves with gas masks.