Support for Israel On the Rise in Europe

October 17, 2018  

By: United With Israel Staff

Finally, the European anti-Israel tide is beginning to turn, according to data collected by Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

Surveys conducted by Israel’s Foreign Ministry in major ‎European countries show a clear rise in support for ‎Israel, Israel Hayom reported last week.‎

The polls, conducted in 2017, found a rising trend of support for Israel in Germany, ‎Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom, which for many years displayed of hostility toward the Jewish state.‎

The Foreign Ministry noted that this positive trend is consistent with the findings of more recent polls.

The surveys were conducted in two stages, at the beginning of 2017 ‎and at the end of the year. The surveys were conducted by local polling institutes and respondents were not told the polls were for Israel.  ‎

The surveys simply asked: “Would ‎you define your attitude toward the State of Israel ‎as sympathetic or unsympathetic?”‎

In Germany, ‎sympathy for Israel rose by 2 percent through the year to reach 41 percent. Simultaneously, aversion to Israel fell from 35 percent ‎to 31 percent.‎

The UK demonstrated a dramatic shift: at the beginning of the year, 32 percent of Britons were ‎sympathetic to Israel and 39 percent were unsympathetic, later in the year, support for Israel rose to 40 percent, while lack of support fell to 33 percent. ‎

In Spain, 40 percent supported ‎Israel compared to 32 percent who did not. In Portugal, 48 percent supported Israel and 30 percent did not. ‎

In Romania, support for Israel grew from 49 percent to 56 percent, ‎while the opposition remained ‎at 17 percent.‎

History Working in Favor of Israel

Overall, the ‎European Union (EU) in total marked a 5 percent increase in ‎sympathy for Israel and a 1 percent drop in antipathy to Israel, with the number of Europeans sympathetic to Israel rising from 38 percent to 43 percent and the number of Europeans unsympathetic to Israel falling from 30 percent to 29 percent. ‎

A Foreign Ministry official told Israel Hayom that said the turnaround in European attitudes ‎to Israel was the result of several foreign affairs issues that are preoccupying the EU and sidelining the Israel-Palestinian issue.

“In the past, the EU associated ‘the Middle East’ ‎with Israel automatically. Today, when you say ‘the ‎Middle East,’ the average European thinks about Syria ‎and the refugees,” the official said. ‎

Another factor he pointed to was the decline of mainstream media ‎and the rise of social media, where Israel can ‎present unfiltered and unbiased facts that cannot be ignored or ‎distorted by politically biased media outlets. ‎

Furthermore, the EU “has come to realize ‎that Israel is an asset,” the official said. ‎

“We’re seeing the same thing all over the continent: The ‎European public has come to see Israel as synonymous ‎with its strengths, such as cutting-edge technology, ‎smart agriculture, the cyber industry and ‎intelligence prowess,” he explained.


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