BERLIN (JTA) — Most Germans feel their country is no longer bound by a special relationship to Israel.
A new survey released Wednesday found that only 35 percent of Germans think the Holocaust should continue to influence German policy toward Israel. Produced by the Forsa research institute for Stern magazine, the poll of 1,000 citizens reveals ambivalence among many toward Israel’s politics, while general appreciation for the Jewish state remains strong.
Manfred Gullner, the head of the Forsa institute, told Stern he found it a "dangerous development" if young Germans outright reject dealing with the National Socialist past.
About half of all Germans find Israel an aggressive country, while 45 percent said they like Israel.
The study found that 13 percent of Germans — and 28 percent of Left Party members — question whether Israel has a right to exist.
In the current conflict with Gaza, 30 percent of Germans blame Hamas. More seniors and members of the conservative Christian Democratic Union of Chancellor Angela Merkel were likely to see Israel as the victim. Of the 13 percent who squarely blame Israel for the current conflict, most were younger Germans and members of the Left Party. Some 35 percent blamed both sides equally.
Asked whether Germans should feel a special responsibility to support Israel because of the Holocaust, 60 percent of respondents said no. Of the younger respondents, 70 percent rejected the special relationship, as did 68 percent of former East Germans and 72 percent of Left Party members.
Meanwhile, a survey conducted by Danish television station TV2 found that 29 percent of Danish citizens are sympathetic to Israel in the current conflict in Gaza, while 22 percent side with the Palestinians. Some 38 percent of the survey respondents said that Israel and the Palestinians are equally responsible for the conflict.
Traditionally, Scandinavian sympathies usually lie with the Palestinians.