A recent survey by Dr. Sharon Pardo, Jean Monnet Chair in European Studies at the Department of Politics and Government and Director of the Centre for the Study of European Politics and Society (CSEPS) at BGU, reveals that 81% of Israelis would like to see Israel join the EU (2009: 69%). In general, 43% of Israelis want stronger relations with the EU, 20% with the UN and 7% with NATO.
According to Pardo the study showed that 68% (2009: 54%) of Israelis support joining NATO while 64% (2009: 54%) of Israelis are also supportive of NATO deploying troops to the West Bank and Gaza in a peace-keeping capacity. There was no difference found in this support between the Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel (63% vs. 64%).
For 47% of Israelis, the European Union’s support for a two-state-solution as the only framework for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict increases their level of support for the EU. Furthermore, for 19% of Israelis, a possible EU-Hamas dialogue increases their level of support for the EU.
The most highly regarded European leader right now is Chancellor Angela Merkel, with favorable ratings of 55%. The survey also found that 8.5% of the Israelis are already citizens of one of the 27 EU Member States.
Pardo explains: "The results show that there is widespread misperception about the Israeli public’s real attitudes toward the European Union. The Israeli public actually views the EU and its Member States as crucial players in shaping Israel’s future and would like to see Europe and NATO playing an even more central role in the Middle East peace process.” Pardo notes that these findings suggest that Israelis are uncomfortable with the perceived isolationism propounded by the current government and want to see stronger and deeper cooperation with the EU, with its Member States and with multilateral organizations.
The survey was conducted by Panels Research Ltd. in mid-June 2011. 1000 people responded to the survey which was a representative sample of the Israeli population. The survey has a 3.3% margin of error.