81% of Israelis support EU membership, BGU poll finds

Survey also finds 64% of Israelis would support NATO deployment of peacekeeping troops to West Bank, Gaza; Merkel most popular EU leader.

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July 12, 2011 03:04
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Sixty-four percent of Israelis would support a NATO deployment of peacekeeping troops to the West Bank and Gaza, according to a survey published by the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev on Monday.

The survey, compiled by Sharon Pardo, Jean Monnet Chair in European Studies in the Department of Politics and Government at BGU, found that the level of support for such a move was the same for both Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel.

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Pardo’s survey also found 81% of Israelis would support European Union membership for Israel, and that in general, 43% of Israelis want stronger relations with the EU.

It also found that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the most popular European leader, with a favorable rating of 55%. In addition, 8.5% of Israelis are already citizens of one of the 27 member states of the EU.

The survey, entitled “Israeli Positions on the EU,” questioned 1,000 people from a representative sample of the Israeli public, and has a 3.3% margin of error.

Pardo said the survey shows “Israelis are really into strengthening and deepening the cooperation between Israel and the EU. Israelis understand the importance of the EU for the future of Israel and they want to strengthen the relations.”

He added that “message is quite clear, Israelis are not for isolationism; they want cooperation.”

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When asked why Israelis are often seen as being at times anti-European, he said “we know that there is this misperception that Israelis are anti- European, and the survey shows that this is actually not the truth and that Israelis are de facto pro-European. They might not like policies of the EU and they may be critical of them, but they want to be as close as possible to the EU for a non-EU country.”

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