by Ariel Kahana
Polls conducted worldwide on behalf of the Foreign Ministry indicate over 40% of Iraqis, Emiratis, and Moroccans favor ties between their countries and Israel
Polls about attitudes toward Israel that the Foreign Ministry conducts worldwide indicate that on average, 75% of respondents believe that ties with Israel can be beneficial to their countries.
The ministry conducts these polls on a regular basis to determine Israel's advantages and disadvantages in world opinion. They are carried out by professional pollsters in each country, and respondents are not informed that the polls were initiated by Israel.
Polls conducted in Arab countries at the end of 2018 checked to what extent respondents wanted their countries to have ties with Israel. It turned out that at a time when closer ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia are the subject of much discussion, only 23% of respondents supported the idea of increased ties between the two nations.
However, 43% of Iraqis, 42% Emiratis, and 41% of Moroccans polled said they were in favor of ties between their nations and Israel. Over one-third of Iranians (34%) said they were in favor of ties with Israel, as did 32% of Tunisians and 21% of Algerians polled.
Respondents were also asked whether they saw the Palestinian Authority as the main obstacle to Middle East peace. In many of the countries polled, over half of respondents had no opinion.
In the Middle East, 18% of respondents agreed with the statement that the Palestinian Authority was a roadblock to regional peace, with 29% disagreeing and 53% saying they had no opinion.
In Western Europe, 24% of respondents supported and 24% opposed the claim that the Palestinian Authority was preventing peace in the Middle East, and 52% had no opinion.
In North America, 30% agreed that the PA was the main obstacle to Middle East peace, with 19% disagreeing, and 51% saying they had no opinion.
In Africa, 38% of respondents agreed that the PA was preventing peace in the Middle East, while 15% disagreed and 47% had no opinion.
When asked whether or not they believed that Iran had stopped its program to develop nuclear weapons, Western European respondents expressed less faith in the Iranian regime than their governments did, with 34% saying that they did not believe that Iran had stopped developing nuclear weapons. Only 18% of respondents in Western Europe believed that Iran was no longer developing nuclear weapons.
The numbers for North American were almost identical, with 18% saying they believed Iran was no longer developing nuclear weapons and 33% saying they did not believe it had stopped.
Middle Eastern respondents were the most skeptical about Iran, with 43% saying they did not believe that Iran had stopped working to achieve nuclear weapons.
On the issue of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, most respondents in Latin America said they supported their countries relocating their embassies in Israel to Jerusalem.
A senior official in the Foreign Ministry told Israel Hayom that the figures indicate that attitude toward Israel in the world is remaining positive and steady.
"Throughout most of the world, people think that the Iranian regime cannot be trusted. Other than Europe, we can see that citizens are more grounded in reality than their governments are," the official said.
"When it comes to the Palestinians, the important figure is actually the actually how uninterested the global public is in the conflict. More than half of respondents had no opinion on the matter. On the other hand, Israel is seen as a country with which having relations is worthwhile. It's a positive trend because people are seeing Israel's strengths," the official added.
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