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August 9, 2017 2:52 pm

Poll Shows Strong Support for Israel Among New Zealanders, Despite Their Government’s Policies

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

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Government buildings in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Nick-D via Wikimedia Commons.

A new poll of close to 1000 New Zealanders has found surprisingly strong support for Israel.

According to local news outlet J-Wire, the Israel Institute of New Zealand found that respondents supported the Jewish state by a margin on 55 to 13 percent.

The institute’s co-director David Cumin commented, “The support for Israel is most encouraging at a time when Israel is demonized in the media and blamed, by some, for putting obstacles in the way of peace.”

“It’s also important to know that there is support when Jews are once again under threat around the world and need to know that they have a safe haven in their ancestral homeland,” he added.

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The poll showed other positive results for Israel. It found that on the question of whether Israel should be a Jewish-majority state, 60 percent of men and 51 percent of women said yes. Fifty-eight percent of those under age 30 and over age 60 responded affirmatively.

These numbers are particularly striking because of recent tensions between the governments of New Zealand and Israel.

New Zealand was partially responsible for bringing UN Security Council Resolution 2334 to a vote despite strong Israeli opposition. After Egypt withdrew the resolution under pressure from the US, New Zealand stepped in to sponsor it.

Resolution 2334 declared East Jerusalem and the West Bank to be occupied Palestinian territory and denounced Israel’s settlements there. Israel saw this as a denial of Jewish rights to its capital city and holy sites like the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. It led to a serious rupture in Israel’s diplomatic relations with New Zealand.

The institute’s survey, however, found that ordinary New Zealanders strongly disapprove of their government’s sponsorship of the resolution, with only 27 percent expressing support for it.

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