In mid-October 2015, Mitvim, the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, conducted its annual poll surveying a representative sample of the population on foreign policy issues. Based on the responses of 600 citizens (498 Jews and 102 Palestinian citizens of Israel), the survey revealed growing dissatisfaction with Israel’s foreign policy with 60% of respondents characterizing Israel’s global standing as “not good,” compared to 35% in 2014. In addition, respondents expressed strong displeasure over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempts to impede the Iran nuclear negotiations (see JPS 44 for more) and the lack of a full-time foreign minister, following Avigdor Lieberman’s resignation from the post in May 2015.
Because of the incoming Israeli cabinet’s narrow parliamentarian majority (see Update in JPS 44 for more), minority members of the ruling coalition have spearheaded hawkish legislation on both settlements and the activities of several internationally funded Israeli nongovernmental organizations. Israel’s allies as well as international organizations have responded critically, as was manifested most recently in the European Union’s guidelines for labeling settlement products (see Doc. A1 above) and Brazil’s ongoing refusal to accept settler supporter Dani Dayan as Israel’s ambassador to that country.
Given the polemic political climate in Israel, it is no wonder that Mitvim found that 55% of respondents believed that the government should prioritize the peace process in order to improve Israel’s international standing.
Presented below is a selection of excerpts from the Mitvim poll. The complete survey is available at www.mitvim.org.il.