The Polish Embassy in Israel today presents a public opinion survey aimed at measuring the attitude of Israeli society towards Poland in general and Polish government policy in particular. The survey was conducted by the Keevoon Institute.
According to the survey, 49% of Israelis have an unfavorable impression of Poland, and 42% a favorable impression. Polish Ambassador Marek Magierowski noted that at the end of the survey, after the interviewees were exposed to additional details and facts, the data for favorable impression of Poland improved. The figures at the end of the survey are strikingly different, with 76% expressing favorable feelings towards Poland and only 19% remaining with unfavorable feelings toward the country.
60% of the Israelis met Poland for the first time as part of their Holocaust remembrance trip or that of a family member. "When people come for a tourist or business visit, they are usually pleasantly surprised and say they expected to see a gray, old and sad place," the ambassador noted.
The participants were also asked about the attitude towards the European Union. 51% had negative feelings and 39% had positive feelings.
Regarding the attitude toward Poland, the survey authors note that the Haredi community has a more positive attitude toward Poland than to other European countries, and this is apparently due to the rich history of yeshivas in Poland. The survey authors noted that there were no negative responses regarding Poland among respondents in the Arab sector.
The survey was conducted in the shadow of the recent tension between Israel and Poland over the Polish law forbidding Holocaust crimes to be attributed to Poland. The pollsters emphasized that in the last questions of the survey, the participants were asked to relate to the attitude of Israelis towards the history of the Polish people during the Holocaust.
72% agreed with the statement that the Poles were also victims of the Nazi regime, but that their suffering can not be compared to the suffering of the Jews. Asked whether Israel and Poland were partners in the mission of Holocaust commemoration, 71% said yes. However, 67% agreed that Poland refuses to take full responsibility for the role played by its citizens during the Holocaust.
During the briefing presenting the survey, embassy officials emphasized that the survey was part of Poland's move to strengthen the connection with the Israeli public and that some of the questions were formulated in order to clarify the matter of legislation. "The questions correspond to Polish policy," the embassy staff stressed, noting that it was important to them that the Israeli public should know the history - the Nazi responsibility and the Polish victims, but that they also recognize the need to take responsibility for the participation of Polish citizens in Nazi crimes and say that it happened. "Our government does not conceal our dark past," the ambassador stressed.
"I am glad that we conducted this survey," said the ambassador. "We need these tools to adapt messages to the Israeli public. There doesn’t only have to be Holocaust trips and shopping trips to Poland, there is another big realm of acquaintance that Israelis have to have with Poland.”