Poll: Israelis unhappy with foreign policy, global standing

Julie Wiener

(JTA) — A new poll has found that the majority of Israelis are dissatisfied with their government’s handling of foreign policy and believe Israel’s global standing is not good.

The 2015 Israeli Foreign Policy Index of the Mitvim Institute, published on Thursday, reported widespread concern about Israel’s foreign affairs.

The index was based on a public opinion poll conducted earlier this month that sampled a representative sample of 600 Israeli adults and has a margin of error of 4 percent.

Among the findings: 58 percent of Israelis think Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed in his attempts to stop Iran’s nuclear program, and 68 percent are dissatisfied with the country’s foreign policy.

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The poll also reported concern about Israel’s lack of a full-time foreign minister. Currently Netanyahu is filling the position, along with being prime minister.

Asked what they believe should top Israel’s foreign policy priorities, Israelis ranked “addressing the country’s security threats” first, followed by improving relations with the United States and advancing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Respondents ranked the U.S. as the country of highest importance to Israel, followed by Russia, Germany, Egypt, China and Great Britain. The majority also said that allowing Arab countries to play a more significant role in the peace process would be beneficial.

The poll found that perceptions of the country’s foreign policy have declined dramatically since last year, when identical questions were asked. While 35 percent of respondents in 2014 described Israel’s global standing as “not good,” 60 percent did in 2015.

In addition, while only 34 percent described the Israeli government’s foreign policy performance as “not good” in 2014, in 2015 60 percent characterized it as such. In 2014, 17 percent of respondents described Israel-U.S. relations as “not good,” compared to 41 percent in 2015.

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