Flag of Sweden.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israelis view Sweden as the least supportive of the European countries and Germany as the most, according to a Jerusalem Post poll published Monday in advance of the paper’s diplomatic conference in the capital on Wednesday.
Some 39 percent of the 506 Israelis who were polled on October 26-26 pointed to Sweden when asked which European country least supports Israel, followed by France at 22%.
Sparks have flown between Israel and Sweden in the last year, since the Social Democrats came into power and, as one of the new government’s first policy changes, recognized “Palestine” as a state.
Sweden was one of the leading European countries to call for placing consumer labels on settlement products produced over the Green Line.
On Monday, Israel lashed out at Sweden over comments by its Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom that appeared to link the Paris terrorist attacks with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Sweden’s Ambassador to Israel Carl Magnus Nesser said the results of the poll were “of course regrettable.” He added, “Sweden is a friend of Israel and we have a lot of great cooperation in many fields.” The Swedish Embassy said that the countries have good ties in areas such as innovation, research and development.
“Israel is a prioritized market for the government’s trade efforts and one of four countries we look at for inspiration when it comes to its successful innovation ecosystem,” the embassy said.
Germany, in contrast, is one of Israel’s most vocal defenders in Europe and has rejected the idea of consumer labeling on “settlement” products.
Some 54% of those polled said they believe that Germany is the most supportive of Israel, while some 23% said they do not know.
After that, 10% said Great Britain is the most supportive of Israel, followed by Poland at 6% and France at 5%. Only 1% of those polled said they believe Sweden and Ireland are the most supportive.
Ireland, like Sweden, is often perceived to be supportive of Palestinians over Israelis, but Ireland’s new Ambassador to Israel Alison Kelly said that, while the political aspect of the Israeli-Irish ties has received a lot of publicity, “nobody should doubt our commitment to the relationship with Israel.” The two countries, she said, have strong economic, high-tech, political and cultural connections that make for a strong and positive relationship.
Ireland did far better on the second question put to respondents of the poll, which asked which country is the least supportive of Israel. Out of those polled, 39% said Sweden, 22% said France, followed by 11% for Great Britain, 9% for Ireland, 3% for Germany, 2% for Poland, and 14% said they do not know.
Poll results were published at a particularly tense time for Israeli-European relations. Just last week the European Union published guidelines that provided member states with instructions on how to place consumer labels on products produced over the 1949-1967 cease-fire lines – in east Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights. Israel has charged that such a move legitimizes extremist left-wing groups that call for a boycott of Israel.
The poll also looked at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Respondents were asked whether they support a Palestinian state in light of the wave of terrorism.
Only 46% said they would want to see the creation of a Palestinian state. Another 36% said they would prefer to see Israel annex Judea and Samaria and 7% said they want the status quo to continue. Some 12% said they do not know.
Moving on to the United States, 34% said they would vote for the Democratic Party, if given the opportunity to participate in the 2016 elections, while 30% said they would vote for the Republican Party. Some 36% were undecided.
The poll was conducted over the Internet by Panels Politics and has a 4.3% margin of error.
Out of those polled 49% were men and 51% female. When it came to age, just 2% were under 29-years old. Another 29% were between the ages of 30-44, 26% were between 45-59 and 17% were over 60 years old.
With regard to location, 10% were from the north of the country, 25% were from the center and 29% were from the south as well as Judea and Samaria. In addition, 15% were from Haifa and 22% from Tel Aviv.
When regard to religious practice, 12% were ultra-Orthodox, 14% were religious, 31% were traditional and 43% were secular.
Some 85% of those polled were Israeli Jews and another 15% were Israeli Arab.