Speaking at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation are, from left, Dr. Hans-Gert Pottering, Mitchell Barak, Prof. Dr. Khalil Shikaki.
(photo credit: KAS)
BERLIN – The Konrad Adenauer Foundation – a think tank affiliated with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party – introduced on Monday the results of two studies showing positive Israeli and Palestinian attitudes toward Germany.
Mitchell Barak, the director of the Israeli polling company Keevoon, said “69 percent of Israelis have a favorable impression of Germany” and “81% want a close relationship with Germany.” Barak, who had conducted previous surveys in 2007 and 2009 of Israeli views toward Germany, surveyed 1,000 random Israelis over the age of 18 in December 2014.
According to the study, 54% of Israelis believe Germany is an “honest broker” in Israel-Palestinian relations.
Merkel remains enormously popular, with 70% of Israeli respondents viewing her positively. A mere 11% had a negative view of Merkel. Her rating increased from 2009, where she had a 56% favorable view, but only a 9% negative result.
The study revealed that 56% of Israelis view Germans as “reserved, cold, and impersonal,” while 57% said Germans are highly reliable.
Barak said that a pattern emerged along religious lines, where secular Israelis were more favorable to Germany and religious respondents less so. Jews from Ashkenazi (69%) and Sephardic (64%) backgrounds have roughly the same level of support for Germany. One surprising result, said Barak, was that 53% of Israelis have a favorable view of the European Union.
Growing ties between Israel and Germany play out in family relations. According to the poll, 19% of Israeli said they have cousins in Germany.
Russian Jews have a more critical view of Germany, where stereotypes from the Cold War may play a role, according to the study.
Israeli males have a more favorable view than women.
Forty-two percent of those polled said that German-Israeli relations should be strengthened based on historical reasons, while 33% are of the view that “joint interests” should dominate.
The study was commenced as part of this year’s 50th anniversary of German-Israel diplomatic relations. The survey has a 3.1 percentage point margin of error.
For Barak, the most significant of the report’s findings was that “Israelis value the relationship with Germany.
It is extremely significant.”
Dr. Khalil Shikaki from the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah directed the second study. His organization polled 1,270 Palestinians in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
He said “the findings are highly promising, better than my expectations.”
Thirty-seven percent of Palestinian respondents have a positive view of Merkel, 32% unfavorable and 32% said they did not have enough information. Three quarters of those polled want stronger relations with the Federal Republic. A clear majority – 68% – said that Germany was an “honest broker” in international politics and 58% said that German citizens support the Palestinian cause.
A majority of Palestinians want Germany to take a more active international role, but have concerns about the country in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Regarding Germany’s support for Palestinian statehood, 53% claimed that the Federal Republic would advocate it.
Shikaki said, “Islamists and those who favor Hamas have a less positive impression of Germany.”
He said Hamas did not interfere in the survey’s data collection in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas has attempted in the past to “prevent freedom of movement.”
Gazans know more about Germany than West Bank Palestinians. He said they seemed to be “more inquisitive.”