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January 25, 2023 1:14 pm
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Majority of Ukrainians Support Israel in Confrontation With Iran, New Survey Reveals

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avatar by Ben Cohen

Doctors at Israel’s ‘Kochav Meir’ field hospital in western Ukraine check patient x-rays against the morning daylight. Photo: Naama Frank Azriel / Sheba Medical Center

Nearly two-thirds of Ukrainians support Israel in its conflict with Iran, a new survey disclosed on Tuesday, with more than half saying that they consider the Jewish state to be a “friendly country.”

The survey — conducted in early January by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology on behalf of the Israeli Embassy — contained multiple questions about Ukrainian attitudes to Israel, which have grown in sympathy in recent months as Iran has supplied its Russian ally with attack drones that have devastated Ukraine’s infrastructure.

According to the survey, 64 percent of Ukrainians support in Israel in its existential confrontation with the Iranian regime — a precipitous leap on the 27.5 percent who gave the same answer in a similar survey in Dec. 2021. Asked whether they considered Israel a “friendly country”, 53 percent replied in the affirmative while 36 percent said they were undecided.

Sympathy for Iran was expressed by just one percent of those surveyed, while the number who said they did not identify with either party decreased to 16 percent from 54 percent just over a year ago.

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Asked about Israel’s position on Russia’s aggression against its southern neighbor, 48 percent said they believed Jerusalem was on the side of Ukraine. Eight percent said they believed Israel was aligned with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime, a slight increase on the five percent who said the same in 2021. Twenty percent said that Israel was not backing either side in their view, while a further 23.5 percent said they had no opinion on the matter.

More than half of the respondents said they were aware of Israel’s practical assistance to Ukraine, with 48 percent registering awareness of the Israeli humanitarian aid operation in the country.

On the vexed question of Israeli military aid, which Jerusalem has been reluctant to supply on the grounds of concern over the Russian military presence in next door Syria, opinion was sharply split.

More than a quarter of respondents rejected the Israeli position entirely, saying they could not understand it, with a further 17 percent saying that while they understood Israel’s logic, they were disappointed with the conclusion reached by the Israeli government. However, 33 percent said that Israel’s position was understandable given its own vulnerable security situation.

The survey highlighted that an overwhelming 87 percent of Ukrainians believe that Israel’s technological edge will benefit the country’s eventual postwar reconstruction. “The current public opinion of Ukrainians towards Israel is actually strategically balanced, as potentially (and in some practical dimensions already) Israel is an important partner for Ukraine,” the Sociology Institute’s researchers noted.

The survey was conducted by a computer-aided telephone interview with 2,002 participants. The Institute observed that its data gathering had been complicated by the Russian invasion, as some respondents had fled the fighting for different regions of Ukraine after being interviewed.

 

 

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