Israelis split 50-50 in view of China

Israelis split 50-50 in view of China

Israelis are split evenly in their views of China, making them more likely to view Beijing positively than citizens of most Western states, a Pew Research poll found.

China’s 50% unfavorable rate among Israelis is lower than that in the US (83%), Canada (79%), France (72%), the UK (69%), Australia (87%) or Japan (87%), but is comparable to that of Hungarians (50%) or Greeks (51%). Among the countries that view China more favorably than Israel does are Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina.

A total of 76% of people surveyed view China negatively, with higher-income countries less likely to approve of China.

Israel’s view of China has gotten worse in recent years

Israelis’ view of China has gotten worse in recent years. In 2019, China had its least unfavorable rating in Israel, 25%, which dropped to 46% last year. Israelis were most negative about China in 2013, the only year they gave Beijing a lower score than this year, with 60% unfavorability.

Chinese and Israeli flags are seen on a table during a signing ceremony in Tel Aviv, 2014 (credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)

Nearly half (48%) of Israelis feel that China does not take their country into consideration at all, and another 33% say it does not account for Israel’s interests much; only 12% said China takes Israel into account a fair amount. Israelis’ 81% negative rating of China on this question is worse than the median, which is 76%.

Over three-quarters (77%) of Israelis said China does not contribute to global peace and stability, with 39% saying not at all and 38% saying not too much. Only 16% said that China helps bring peace and stability a fair amount. Israelis’ 77% negative rating of China on this question is worse than the median, which is 71%.

Israelis are split as to whether China interferes in other countries’ affairs, with 50% saying yes to varying degrees and 42% saying no. The 24-country median of those saying China interferes in other countries is 57%.

Most Israelis (72%) have little or no confidence in Chinese President Xi Jinping, similar to the median of 74% who feel the same.

Fewer Israelis view China as the world’s leading economic power this year (20%) than they did in 2019 (27%). A slim majority of Israelis (52%) see China’s economic power as neutral, while 39% see it as a bad thing and 6% view it positively.

Most (61%) Israelis say that China’s technological achievements are the best or above average, and 55% say the same of China’s military. Israelis are far less likely to view Chinese universities (27%) or entertainment (11%) as good.

Pew conducted the poll among over 30,000 adults in 24 countries in February-May of this year.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to visit to Beijing later this year, at the invitation of Chinese leader Xi Jinping. A date has yet to be set for the trip.

Diplomatic sources in the US and other Western states said in recent weeks that they viewed Netanyahu’s expected Beijing trip with concern, while the Prime Minister’s Office emphasized that Netanyahu immediately updated Washington about the invitation and that the visit is not meant to be a message to US President Joe Biden.

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