Israeli Arabs proud when state helps other nations

Poll shows Orthodox respondents much less enthusiastic in assisting developing countries.

israeli arab 88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
israeli arab 88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A majority of Israel's adults - both Jews and Arabs - believe that Israel should lend a helping hand to developing nations, and that such international aid brings international credit to the nation. According to the survey, 75 percent of the public feel proud when hearing that Israel has helped needy people somewhere on the globe, and as many as 65% believe that providing humanitarian aid to developing countries strengthens Israel's international image. Responses from the Arab sector surprised the surveyors - 70% of Arab respondents said they feel proud when hearing that Israel has assisted populations in need. "This is a very interesting and significant result," says Prof. Yitzhak Katz, one of the survey's initiators. "The Israeli Arab public's capacity to identify with the state on this issue opens up significant opportunities. Projects could be considered which bring together Arabs and Jews around this issue, for example, an overseas Israeli (Jewish and Arab) volunteer corps." The survey's conclusions indicated that another partnership was also called for - one between Israel and world Jewry. Sixty-one percent of the Israeli public believes that Israel should work with the Jewish world in providing international assistance to the developing world. However, the percentage of Orthodox respondents who support Israel's assisting developing nations was much lower than in the overall public: only 45% were in favor of such aid. Meanwhile, according to the survey, 77% of the general public have never heard of Mashav - the Department for International Cooperation in Israel's Foreign Ministry, which is officially responsible for the state's development cooperation activities. The survey, commissioned in January 2008 by the Harold Hartog School of Government and Policy at Tel Aviv University, was conducted by Maagar-Mohot Interdisciplinary Research and Consulting Institute, Inc., among a random sample of 535 respondents, representative of Israel's adult population. The maximum sampling error was 4.5% for the various estimates. The findings will be presented in detail at an international workshop on Faith and International Development, to be held at Tel Aviv University Sunday and Monday.