BERLIN (JTA) — A new survey suggests that Germans have lost some love for Israel over the past three years.
In the poll of 1,002 citizens, 36 percent said they liked Israel, down from 59 percent in a similar survey conducted in January 2009. Also, only 21 percent believe that Israel cares about human rights, down from 31 percent in the earlier study.
Seventy percent of those polled May 15-16 said that Israel pursues its own interest without consideration for other peoples — 11 points higher than the ’09 survey. Fifty-nine percent of respondents find Israel to be "aggressive," up from 49 percent in 2009.
The number of those who outright challenge Israel’s right to exist — 13 percent — has remained steady.
The survey revealed that 60 percent of Germans feel their country has no particular responsibility toward Israel 67 years after the end of World War II. Thirty-three percent believed, however, that Germany still has a special duty to stand by Israel because of the Holocaust.
On the Palestinians, 65 percent of Germans want their government to recognize a Palestinian state, while 18 percent think now is not the right time for such a move.
The survey was conducted by the Forsa research institute for Stern magazine ahead of next week’s Middle East visit by German President Joachim Gauck.