CANBERRA, Australia — A new poll on the attitudes of New Zealanders to Israel shows four times as many Kiwis support Israel as are opposed to the Jewish State.
Fifty-five per cent of almost 1,000 Kiwis polled expressed their support for Israel, compared to only 13 per cent against, in a survey commissioned by the Israel Institute of New Zealand (IINZ).
Co-director of the Israel Institute, Dr David Cumin, says these results show Israel holds strong public backing in New Zealand, in defiance of its portrayal in the media and its denigration during political discourse.
“The support for Israel is most encouraging at a time when Israel is demonised in the media and blamed, by some, for putting obstacles in the way of peace.
“It’s also important to know that there is support when Jews are once again under threat around the world and need to know that they have a safe haven in their ancestral homeland.”
The relationship between New Zealand and Israel has been fraught in the past 12 months, most significantly when New Zealand co-sponsored United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 in December 2016.
As Breitbart Jerusalem reported, the resolution demanded that “Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem” – sparking vigorous public debate and leading to a temporary suspension of Israel/NZ relations.
However, according to the IINZ survey, only 27 per cent believe the New Zealand government was right to co-sponsor the resolution. A full 30 per cent believe that the government should have abstained and 43 per cent are unsure.
On the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish majority State, the poll revealed:
- Men were more likely than women to believe that Israel should exist as a majority Jewish State – but both represented a majority (60 per cent and 51 per cent) vs those who believe that Israel should not exist as a majority Jewish State (13 per cent of men and 12 per cent of women)
- 18 to 30 year olds and over 60s are most likely to support Israel as a majority Jewish State (58 per cent of both)
- National voters (58 per cent for and 10 per cent against) were the most likely to believe in Israel’s right to exist as a majority Jewish State – and NZ First voters (51 per cent for and 20 per cent against) were least likely to accept this. A surprising 56 per cent of Greens voters supported the existence of a majority Jewish State, while only 21 per cent did not.
Dr Cumin says this result shows how controversial the UN vote was and highlights the lack of understanding among most New Zealanders about the resolution.
Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: Follow @SunSimonKent or e-mail to: email@example.com