Poll: More Israelis Concerned About Social Values Than War, Terror

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:13 PM EDT

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - On the eve of a war in Iraq and after more than two years of the Palestinian uprising, more Israelis are concerned about the loss of values in society than war or terrorism, a new poll says.

Of the 501 adult Jewish Israelis contacted, 31 percent said they were most concerned by "loss of values in our society." Another 18 percent said they were most concerned by terrorist attacks; 12 percent, by war in the region; 20 percent, by economic challenges; and 15 percent, by longer-range uncertainties.

The survey, conducted by the Smith Research Institute earlier this month and published this week by the Israel Forever Foundation, found that 46 percent of respondents believed Israel's "long-range position" would be improved as a result of the war in Iraq, while 12 percent said they thought Israel's position would be weakened; 27 percent believed Israel's position would remain unchanged; and 15 percent had no opinion.

In an open-ended question asking which country in the world is Israel's best friend, 81 percent of respondents said the USA. Runner up for friendship was Micronesia - which frequently votes with Israel in U.N. Holland, England and Mexico were also mentioned, and 13 percent said no one was Israel's friend.

Forty-two percent of those polled said they believe that most of the world dislikes and criticizes Israel; 46 percent said they believe most of the world doesn't really care about Israel; and nine percent said most of the world respects and appreciates Israel.

The Israel Forever Foundation was started by two Washington, D.C.-based attorneys, Richard and Phyllis Heideman, about a month ago as a way of encouraging Israel.

"They are running this foundation in order to boost the morale of the Israeli people and show them that Israel does have friends around the world, is getting support from its friends - Jews and non-Jews," said Naor Yerushalmi, IFF's local representative following a press conference in Jerusalem.

The Israel Forever Foundation will be sponsoring what it calls a "gala event" in Washington, D.C., on May 19, to celebrate Israel's 55th anniversary.