Poll Shows 38 Percent of West Germans Support Israel; Six Percent Support Arabs

Thirty-eight percent of the West German population supports the Israeli position in the Middle East conflict, with only 6 percent supporting the Arab position, but 48 percent consider themselves neutral and 8 percent have no opinion. These are the results of a poll of a representative cross-section of the 50 million West Germans, as reported in Deutschland-Berichte, a German news review here. The publication did not indicate who took the poll. Among West Germans aged 16 to 18, more than half–54 percent–sided with Israel, only 5 percent for the Arabs, with 34 percent neutral and 7 percent undecided. Among these aged 18 to 21 and 21 to 30, the pro-Israelis accounted for 43 percent and the pro-Arabs for 4-5 percent. Among 50-65-year-olds, 34 percent favored Israel and 8 percent the Arabs. The figures showed the heaviest pro-Israeli feelings among those furthest removed from the Nazi era and the Second World War. In addition, the higher a West German’s educational level, the greater his sympathy for Israel, according to the poll. Fifty-five percent of those at the collegiate level sympathized with Israel, with only 5 percent favorable to the Arabs. At the elementary school level, it was 35 percent pro-Israel, 6 percent pro-Arab. Men (41 percent) were more sympathetic to Israel than women (36 percent).

Those affiliated with the Christian Democratic Union of former Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger and with its Bavarian affiliate, the Christian Socialist Union, registered 44 percent pro-Israel and 7 percent pro-Arab. Those supporting the Social Democratic Party of Chancellor Willy Brandt were 42 percent pro-Israel and 4 percent pro-Arab. Those aligned with the Free Democratic (Liberal) Party of Foreign Minister Walter Scheel were 40 percent pro-Israel and 7 percent pro-Arab. A full 25 percent of the supporter’s of Adolf von Thadden’s right-wing, allegedly neo-Nazi National Democratic Party termed themselves sympathetic to Israel, with 45 percent pro-Arab. Regarding attacks on Israel-bound planes, 89 percent of those questioned said they were aware of them, 9 percent said they were not interested and 2 percent refused comment. As to punishment for airline saboteurs, 46 percent demanded “the most severe punishment,” according to Deutschland-Berichte; 14 percent recommended punishment and expulsion, 10 percent favored punishment according to German law, and 10 percent favored severe condemnation. Eleven percent declined answer to this question, with the remainder offering miscellaneous suggestions.

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