‘God Help Us’: Israeli Response to Mideast Poll

JERUSALEM ~ Most Israeli Jews have a negative perception of the Middle East with many asking themselves, “What the hell are we doing here?” according to a survey released on Tuesday.
Asked to give the first words that came to mind when thinking about the Middle East, 61 percent of respondents were negative, 20 percent neutral and 19 percent positive, Tel Aviv University’s Centre for Peace Research said.
The negative responses mainly related to war, terrorism and Islam, the centre’s poll found.
“These came along with expressions of a general, colorful nature such as: ‘a nutcase region’, ‘a shitty place’, ‘a morass,’ ‘I can’t take any more of it,’ ‘God help us’ and ‘What the hell are we doing here?'” the centre said.
Among the positive responses, an aspiration to peace was common.
The survey also found that 71 percent of Jewish Israelis do not believe that Israel will succeed in the coming decades to integrate politically with the rest of the Middle East.
The centre’s survey shows that 63 percent clearly prefer integration with the West.
Among Israeli Arabs on the other hand, 34 percent responded with positive words and images when questioned about the Middle East, 32 percent had negative responses and 34 percent were neutral.
In the telephone interview of 599 people, carried out at the start of September, a majority of Israeli Arabs also favored integration with the West rather than the Middle East.
The sampling error for the poll is 4.5 percent, the university said.

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