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Most Israelis think the world is against them, survey reveals

View of the Palestinian Shuafat refugee camp behind Israel's apartheid wall in east Jerusalem on 3 December 2014 [Muammar Awad/Apaimages]
View of a Palestinian refugee camp behind Israel's apartheid wall in east Jerusalem on 3 December 2014 [Muammar Awad/Apaimages]

Some 59 per cent of Israelis believe that criticism of Israel is the result of opposition towards the state, a poll commissioned in September for the Jerusalem Post has revealed.

Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policy, in cooperation with political foundation Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung, found that only a third of Israelis believed that criticism of Israel was due to the occupying state's policies, and were more inclined to believe that the international community was hostile towards them.

The survey also found that a majority of 70 per cent of Israelis wanted to increase regional cooperation with Arab states; but nearly half did not think achieving peace with the Palestinians was necessary to achieve that.

One in four Israelis also believed that the government should prioritise fighting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as part of the country's foreign policy.

Read: UN official slammed for urging sanctions on Israel

Although Israel regularly comes under scrutiny from international institutions such as the UN, it historically has had the backing of Western superpowers, including the US, UK and other EU member states. It has also forged strong ties with Russia, China and more recently India as the country looks to boost security and trade through its foreign partners.

Attempts to hold Israel to account, or even recognise the legitimacy of Palestinian heritage as demonstrated by recent rulings passed by UNESCO designating World Heritage Sites as Palestinian under threat from Israel, have been condemned by Israeli citizens and the government alike. Last month, Israel announced that it would follow the US and leave UNESCO if it did not alter its "anti-Israel bias".

In keeping with the public's inclinations, according to the poll, relations between Arab countries and the Zionist state are also believed to be stronger than officials publicly admit, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informing members of his foreign ministry in September that cooperation between Israel and the Arab world is "unprecedented".

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Last week, Israeli officials also confirmed that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman had visited Tel Aviv, a report denied by the Kingdom.

Meanwhile, the peace process between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel has stalled once again, amid confusion over US President Donald Trump's "deal of the century", with the US alleging in August that committing to a two-state solution would display bias.

Sharing the public's concerns, Israel has also been increasing its campaign to fight the BDS movement on the international stage. Last week it emerged that Israel has secretly been using a leading US law firm in order to fight BDS groups in Europe, North America and elsewhere.

Read: UN to blacklist 190 companies doing business in occupied Palestine

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