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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Three times as many Saudis favor Israeli strike on Iran as accept Israel as Jewish state

A new poll suggests that ordinary Saudi citizens are much more willing to see Israel strike Iran's nuclear capabilities than they are willing to accept Israel's existence as a Jewish state.
Asked about an Israeli military strike against Iran, one-quarter of urban Saudis said that they would support it at least "to some extent." Interestingly, that figure is three times larger than the number of respondents who said that they would accept Israel "as a Jewish state," even "under the right conditions" -- a mere 9 percent of urban Saudis took that position. But regional differences are relatively significant here: in Jeddah, hypothetical acceptance of a Jewish state was 17 percent, compared to barely 4 percent in Riyadh or Dammam/al-Khobar.
And of course, the Saudis would much rather that the Americans take care of Iran.
[A] third of urban Saudis said that they would approve "an American military strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities" if Tehran refuses to restrict its activities in this field. But a majority disagreed: one-third were "somewhat" opposed to such action, and the remaining third were "strongly" opposed. These responses showed modest variation by demographic categories. In Riyadh, for instance, 38 percent would support a U.S. strike, while in Jeddah, far to the west, the number dropped to 27 percent. Moreover, among Saudis with only an elementary-school education, 37 percent would support a military strike, but among those with a high school diploma or higher, the figure was 30 percent.
The poll data also include Egypt, where they are less willing to accept a strike on Iran, but more willing (barely, after 30 years of 'peace') to accept Israel as a Jewish state.
The poll data show that Egyptians are significantly less likely than urban Saudis to favor tough action against Iran. For example, the proportion of Egyptians who support new sanctions barely tops 40 percent and has declined moderately since June 2009, in contrast to the majority support in Saudi Arabia. Similarly, just one-quarter of Egyptians, compared to a third of Saudis, would support U.S. military action, and even fewer would approve an Israeli strike (17 percent).

At the same time, the Egyptian respondents were somewhat more likely to say that they could accept Israel as a Jewish state, although this remained a distinctly minority opinion (26 percent) even after thirty years of formal Egyptian-Israeli peace. As mentioned previously, the Egyptian survey was of a national sample that included both rural and urban respondents, but the differences on this question by type of residence were very small. Moreover, those who would accept Israel as a Jewish state were no more likely than others to approve an Israeli strike against Iran.
Peace is at hand? Not likely.


At 3:07 PM, Blogger oxothnk said...

Given the different outcome across level of schooling, what does that say about Saudi educational programs? Perhaps the outcome is not surprising.


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