Half of Israelis think Diaspora Jews should be taken into account in policy decisions

The 2019 Israeli Foreign Policy Index by the Mitvim Institute showed that Saudi Arabia and Egypt are the most important Arab countries for Jerusalem to cooperate with.

2019 Israeli Foreign Policy Index by the Mitvim Institute
Half of Israelis think that the country should take into account the impact of its policy decisions on Diaspora Jews, the 2019 Israeli Foreign Policy Index by the Mitvim Institute has revealed. Of those, 14% stated that they should be considered to a large extent, and 36% to a moderate extent, while 29% said to a small extent and only 6% not at all.
The Mitvim Institute describes itself as an independent think tank which aims to “reshape Israel’s relations in the Middle East, Europe and the Mediterranean,” to promote “regional-belonging for Israel” and to promote “Israeli-Arab peace.” The 2019 Foreign Policy Index marks the seventh edition of the survey. It was carried out by the Rafi Smith Institute in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung by polling a representative sample of Israel’s adult population.
Seven hundred people – Jews and Arabs – were interviewed about several topics, including the country’s foreign relations and service, its role within the region and its dealings with Palestinians.
A significant majority (63%) of the respondents ranked their feelings about Israel’s standing in the world as good or very good. Sixty percent of respondents said they were satisfied or moderately satisfied with the government’s conduct in the realm of foreign policy.
About 39% of the respondents selected “advances diplomatic relations” as the main task of an Israeli diplomat, which was more than double the amount of those who chose Israel advocacy as the primary task.
If Blue and White leader Benny Gantz were to become prime minister, 25% of the respondents said that Israel’s foreign relations would improve, 30% that they would deteriorate and 27% that there would be no change.
According to the survey, Israelis think that Saudi Arabia and Egypt are the most important Arab countries with which Jerusalem needs to cooperate (the two were respectively chosen by 25% of the respondents and 19% of the respondents).
Following them, at great distance, was Jordan, selected by 3%. However, 71% of the respondents stated that the peace with Amman was and still is a strategic asset for Israel. Moreover, 68% of the respondents answered that cooperation with other Middle Eastern countries was possible.
When asked which country in the world is the most important for Israel after the US, almost half of the respondents (48%) said Russia, representing a six point increase since 2018.
More than half of the respondents (53%) also stated that Jerusalem should work to improve its relationship with Turkey. The participants were also asked whether Israel should prioritize building ties with democratic countries or should not consider regime type as a factor: both options were indicated by 40% of the respondents.
While last year 55% of those polled stated that the European Union was “more a foe than a friend,” in 2019 the percentage of those who had that response dropped to 45%, while the percentage of those said they who believe the EU is “more a friend than a foe” rose from 18 to 27%. About 27% of the respondents also stated that, in their opinion, Israel is more connected to Europe, while 32% said that it was more connected to the Middle East, and 21% answered that Israeli was most connected to the Mediterranean Basin.
Regarding Israel’s approach toward the 2020 US elections, about the same number of respondents stated that Israel should strengthen its ties with President Donald Trump and the Republican Party (36%) and a close amount said that it should mend ties with the Democratic Party (34%).
Vis-à-vis the relationships with the Palestinians, the majority of Israelis (61%) does not consider Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas a partner for peace and thinks that Arab-Israeli citizens should have a more central role in efforts to promote peace. Other than the US, the majority of respondents would like to see the Arab Quartet as a mediator between the parties.
One-third of the respondents stated that a new war with Gaza was unavoidable.