A new survey revealed that most Israelis attach little importance to relations with the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Hebrew news site NRG reported.
According to the report, the survey – conducted by the Rafi Smith Institute on behalf of Mitvim, the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, associated with Germany’s Social Democratic Party – examined how the Israeli public views cooperation between the Jewish state and various Arab countries.
The poll found that approximately 54 percent of the public placed Israel’s relationship with the PA in one of the two bottom slots among five options. The others were: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Morocco. Some 68% ranked Egypt in the first or second slot, while 44% put Jordan in one of the two top spots. Another 35% listed relations with Saudi Arabia in one of the two top slots.
Despite the low rating given to relations with the PA, 26% of the respondents rated it in first place, with only Egypt topping that, at 37%.
Arab-Israeli respondents rated the PA in first place and Egypt second.
Survey findings revealed that Egypt was viewed as crucial across the political spectrum, ranking first place by voters of all parties, with the exception of the left-wing Meretz and Joint Arab List parties, both of which placed the PA in the top slot.
Right-wingers ranked relations with Jordan high in importance – second place – while placing the PA in last place. Only 9% of the public rated relations with Morocco as highly important.
Eli Podeh, a board member of Mitvim – and a professor of Middle Eastern studies and Islam at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem — said, “The results of the survey teach us, not surprisingly, that the Israeli public mainly supports cooperation with Egypt. The bad news, however, is that more than half of the public attaches little importance, if at all, to cooperation with the PA. This completely ignores the understanding that open and continual cooperation with Arab countries, particularly the Gulf States, will exist only with real progress made in finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
The survey, which was conducted among 500 adult men and women, coincides with a recent boom in Israel’s diplomatic relations with African countries.