Polls: Jordanians and Lebanese strongly negative toward Jews

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Polls showed overwhelmingly negative feelings for Israel and Jews among Jordanians and Lebanese.

The polls commissioned by The Israel Project in November and December and published Thursday showed 94 percent negatives for Israel and 99 percent negatives for Jews among Jordanians, and 100 percent negatives for Israel and 99.8 percent for Jews among Lebanese.

Polling suggested strong distrust of governments in both countries. Among Jordanians, 99 percent said a high government priority should be managing the economy, 98 percent said it should be reducing bribery and corruption and 95 percent said it should be protecting Jordanians from government authorities who take their property.

Among Lebanese, the same numbers were 93 percent, 87 percent and 84 percent respectively.

Pollsters in these countries do not outright ask about approval of government as such questions tend to raise red flags among the authorities and invite government interference, according to the Israel Project.

There were sharp differences between the countries regarding the role of Islam in government: A majority of Lebanese — 54 to 41 percent — said Shariah, or Islamic law, should not be taught in schools, and an overwhelming majority — 91 percent — said speech freedoms should include saying unpopular things about Islam. Lebanon has a large Christian population.

By contrast, in Jordan, 88 percent of respondents said Shariah should be taught in schools, and 91 percent said speech freedoms should not include saying unpopular things about Islam.

Pechter Polls, which carried out the surveys, interviewed 1,000 adults in each country, and did not identify the poll as originating with the Israel Project.

The margin of error in both polls was 3 percentage points.

The Israel Project conducts such polls in part to shape its messaging for its Arabic language outreach to journalists and through social media.

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