Poll: Saudis view Iran as greater enemy than Israel


(JTA) — Saudis dislike Iran more than they dislike Israel.

A poll released Thursday by the Interdisciplinary Center at Herzliya’s Institute for Policy and Strategy found that 53 percent of Saudis named Iran as their country’s main enemy, 22 percent named the Islamic State, or ISIS, and 18 percent named Israel, The Associated Press reported.

Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have diplomatic relations.

The poll, which was conducted by Arabic-speaking Israelis, surveyed 506 Saudis by telephone from a proportional sample of regions and had a margin of error of 5 percentage points.

It also found that a majority of Saudis think their country should seek nuclear weapons if Iran acquires them, and 85 percent support the Saudi-led Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 calling for peace with Israel if it withdraws to its pre-1967 borders. Twenty-five percent said Israel and Saudi Arabia should team up to fight Iran.

“What we think here in Israel about the Saudis is not exactly what they are,” Alex Mintz, head of the Interdisciplinary Center, told AP, adding, “There is a commonality of interests between Saudi Arabia and Israel right now that the Israeli government should take advantage of and capitalize on because it is unique in the history of the two states.”

The full results of the survey will be released next week at the center’s Herzliya Conference.

Recommended from JTA