Berlin holocaust memoria.
(photo credit: AP)
Seventy years after the outbreak of World War II, an unprecedented public opinion poll reveals a surprising picture of Germany as perceived by Israelis: Roughly two-thirds of Jews in Israel expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the level of accountability accepted by Germany for its role in the Holocaust, and Germany's relationship to Israelis today.
The results of the comprehensive study, the first of its kind, were presented as part of Thursday's "Eye of the Beholder" Conference on German-Israeli relations, held at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
The poll, which showed 61% of Israeli Jews as being satisfied with the level of responsibility taken today by Germany for the Nazi annihilation of European Jewry, was the first comparative survey taken of Arab and Jewish attitudes toward Germany.
The poll results indicated that Israel's Jewish population was twice as satisfied as its Arab sector with Germany's political involvement in the region.
The survey, in which 1,200 people participated, examined among other issues the question of whether Israel exploits the memory of the Holocaust to influence Germany's involvement in the Israeli-Arab conflict. The poll also appraised the relative degree of Israelis' trust in Germany, Britain and France.
The study also investigated whether the population of Israel was boycotting German products, and the extent to which Israelis consume German books and movies.
The survey showed that the respondents' attitude towards Germany was influenced by political affiliation and religion observance. The Right expressed more reluctance than the Left to view Germany favorably - only 3% of the respondents who identified themselves as lef-wing said they had no trust in Germany's political activities in the Middle East today, compared to 30% among supporters of right-wing parties.
As for the impact of religious observance, 83% of secular respondents defined Israel's relations with Germany as normal, compared to only 48% of the ultra-Orthodox.
"The findings revealed that contrary to the official position and the attitude of the media, the Israeli public, especially the Jewish public, relate to Germany not only in a neutral but in a sympathetic way," explained conference organizer Prof. Moshe Zimmermann, head of the Hebrew University's Koebner Minerva Center for German History.
"The past is casting a shadow on the present attitude towards Germany, and the Israeli public believes that Germany has faced its past properly," Zimmerman said.
"Contrary to all expectations, the survey revealed that the attitude of Israeli Jews toward Germany is more positive than that of Israeli Arabs," he noted.