A new poll on the attitudes of New Zealanders to Israel, commissioned by the Israel Institute of New Zealand and conducted by Curia Research, shows four times as many Kiwis support Israel as are opposed to the Jewish State.
Fifty-five percent of almost 1,000 kiwis surveyed expressed their support for Israel, compared to only 13% against.
Co-director of the Israel Institute, Dr David Cumin [pictured above], said the results defy the media and political portrayal of Israel.
“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 poll also included a question about attitudes toward New Zealand’s co-sponsorship of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 in December 2016.
The resolution demanded that "Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem" - sparking significant public debate and leading to a temporary suspension of Israel/NZ relations.
The Israeli Ambassador returned to Wellington last month, after Gerry Brownlee replaced Murray McCully as Foreign Minister and wrote to the Israeli Prime Minister indicating that “New Zealand wanted to resume diplomatic relations with Israel and regretted that there'd been fallout from the co-sponsorship of the resolution".
However, according to the IINZ survey, only 27% believe the government was right to co-sponsor the resolution. 30% believe that the Government should have abstained and 43% are unsure.
Dr Cumin said this result shows how controversial the vote was and highlights the lack of understanding among most New Zealanders about the resolution.
On the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish majority State:
• Men were more likely than women to believe that Israel should exist as a majority Jewish State – but both represented a majority (60% and 51%) vs those who believe that Israel should not exist as a majority Jewish State (13% of men and 12% of women).
• 18 to 30 year olds and over 60s are most likely to support Israel as a majority Jewish State (58% of both).
• National voters (58% for and 10% against) were the most likely to believe in Israel’s right to exist as a majority Jewish State – and NZ First voters (51% for and 20% against) were least likely to accept this. A surprising 56% of Greens voters supported the existence of a majority Jewish State, while only 21% did not.
Dr Cumin said this showed that support for Israel cuts across ages, genders, location and party lines.
Some other surprising results relating to the UN resolution 2334 were:
• Women were significantly less likely than men to have wanted the Government to co-sponsor the resolution (23% of women vs 32% of men) compared to 28% and 31%, respectively, who thought New Zealand should have abstained.
• 37% of Wellingtonians believed that the Government should have abstained from the resolution – while just 16% of Wellingtonians thought the Government should have co-sponsored it.
• 34% of Labour voters and 26% of Greens voters thought the Government should have abstained from the resolution, compared to 25% and 45% who thought co-sponsorship was a good idea.
Dr Cumin said that, clearly, Kiwis are strongly conflicted on how New Zealand should have dealt with UN Resolution 2334.
"These results have the potential to be a significant factor influencing the way that people will vote in September”.
The Institute will be circulating the poll results to all politicians and will publish their responses prior to the election, Dr Cumin added.