Survey: Majority of Israelis favour EU membership
A majority of Israelis favour their country becoming part of the European Union, and also want to join NATO and have the military alliance's troops deployed as peacekeepers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to a new poll, DPA reported.
The survey by Ben Gurion University, whose findings were released in English Tuesday, shows that 81 per cent of Israelis would like to see their country join the EU, and 43 per cent want stronger relations with the bloc.
About 68 per cent support joining NATO, and 64 per cent would like to see NATO troops play a peacekeeping role in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
For 47 per cent of Israelis, EU support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict increased their support for the bloc. According to the survey, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was the most highly regarded EU leader for Israelis, with a favourable rating of 55 per cent.
"The results demonstrate that the Israeli public views the European Union as a crucial player and that Israelis believe in stronger cooperation and not in isolation," said Shaorn Pardo, a lecturer in politics and government at the university.
"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," he said.
The poll was conducted in mid-June and a representative sample of 1,000 people were interviewed. It had a margin of error of 3.3 per cent.