Kirill Solod
The Golda Meir Institute for Political and Social studies

Perception of Israel. Why it is important?

The Middle East PR firm ASDA’A BCW presented its annual “Arab Youth Survey”. Taking into consideration the fact that ASDA’A is part of WPP Group (world’s largest advertising company), its’ reports usually have the global influence and mass dissemination.

Latest “Arab Youth Survey” was conducted in April 2023, respondents aged 18-24, 3600 face-to-face interviews across 53 Arab cities. Several topics were devoted to Israel, in particular, the attitude of respondents to the fact of the normalization of diplomatic relations with Israel and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

So out of 18 countries where the survey was conducted, only in 3 countries (UAE, Egypt, Morocco) more than half of the respondents do/would support their government’s decision to normalize diplomatic relations with Israel. The other 6 countries (Palestinian territories, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sudan) are almost 100% against the normalization of diplomatic relations with Israel. As you know, some of these countries are near the Israel border.

Another data from this study suggests that almost 70% of the population of such countries as Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinian territories, Syria and Yemen believe that the Israeli–Palestinian conflict is unlikely to be resolved soon.

The results of the survey reflect one of the trends that Israel is likely to face over the years.

Local manifestations of terrorism, apparently, are unlikely to be stopped, since its manifestation is connected not only with ideological aspects, but also with economic trends. Israeli practice shows that terrorism is getting younger every year. Among the terrorists, 70% are from 18 to 29 years old. The average age of those involved in terrorist activities is about 27–28 years. The suicide bombers are mostly between 18 and 27 years old. According to most experts, the most fertile environment for the germination and development of terrorist cells is a state with many unresolved socio-economic problems. One of the reasons is unemployment (as an example, youth unemployment in Palestinian territories is 40%).

Taking into account the fact that the younger generation, which expresses an unambiguous negative attitude towards Israel, will soon start directly influence the ongoing processes within their countries. Israel needs to make a strategic decision – either to increase protection and build higher fences from those countries that are not ready to have anything in common with Israel in the coming decades, or to develop its own tools to study and influence the perception of Israel by neighboring countries.

About the Author
Political advisor. Research analyst. Government Relations, International Affairs, Political Sociology. Head of The Golda Meir Institute for Political and Social studies and managing partner of the Institute of Political Consulting LS GROUP. Former consultant to M. Gorbachev on public relations. Former head of NGOs in Russia. MBA, Instituto de Empresa (Madrid, 2010). Repatriated to Israel in 2017.
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