Britons are nearly twice as likely to back UK support for Israel as oppose it, new research for the Jewish News has shown.
As the Jewish state prepares to celebrate its 70th anniversary, attitudes towards bilateral relations are revealed in a ComRes poll of 2,039 adults.
It shows a considerable percentage of respondents not ready to express an opinion on a range of issues about Israel. But while 43 percent said they ‘don’t know if Britain should continue its support for Israel as a valuable ally, 62 of those expressing a view agreed compared to 38 percent who disagreed.
After removing the ‘don’t knows’, 56 percent say Britain and Israel are natural allies and 67 percent believe Israel has contributed to the world a significant proportion of scientific and technical advances. Of the latter, 85 percent aged over 65 agreed, compared to 56 percent of 18-34 year-olds.
Just five percent of those surveyed said they had visited the country while one in four Britons were interested in going for the first time – with young people most likely to want to make the journey. Overall, more than 70 percent said they had no interest in going.
ComRes chair Andrew Hawkins said: “Although only one in 20 Britons have ever visited, there is clearly a substantial degree of warmth towards Israel and a widespread recognition of its contribution to the world.
“The number of people who don’t know enough to express an opinion towards Israel is high, showing that more needs to be done to explain Israel’s importance to Britain. But the proportion expressing a positive opinion outnumber those taking a negative view by around two to one. Older people especially are more positive; of those able to express a view the overwhelming sentiment is appreciative of Israel as an ally to Britain and a major contributor to the world.”
The poll was conducted before the Great Return March on the Gaza border.