Survey Says

Majority of Arab youth in UAE, Egypt and Morocco strongly support normalization with Israel, according to new poll 

Arab Youth Survey finds less support in Shia-majority Bahrain for warmer ties with Israel

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Arab youth in the United Arab Emirates and Morocco, two signatories to the Abraham Accords, strongly support the normalization of ties with Israel, according to the 2023 Arab Youth Survey. Young Arabs in Egypt also strongly favor normalization with Israel, while the majority of respondents in other Arab countries from Algeria to Iraq to Saudi Arabia, and including Bahrain, another signatory to the Accords, oppose warmer ties with the Jewish state by large margins.

When it comes to the views of Arab youth about Israel more generally, 86% of respondents view the Jewish state as an enemy of their home country.

Two-thirds of those polled in the survey, which was released yesterday by the global communications firm ASDA’A BCW, said that current “tensions” between Iran, Israel and “some Western countries” — such as the U.S. — will eventually result in war. The U.S., however, continues to hold sway over the region in the eyes of young Arabs, who named it No. 1 among countries felt to have “the most influence on the Arab world.”

Regarding Russia’s war against Ukraine, the majority of young Arabs saw diplomatic negotiations as ultimately leading to a resolution. On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, however, young Arabs, especially in North Africa and the Levant region, do not see a resolution coming soon, and only one-third of all respondents feel the situation is getting “adequate attention and focus” from the Arab world. 

For this year’s Arab Youth Survey, the 15th to date, researchers conducted 3,600 interviews with individuals ages 18-24 between March 27 and April 12 in 18 countries and 53 cities across the Middle East and North Africa, to gauge the overall attitude of the “Arab world’s largest demographic.” The survey’s margin of error is 1.6%.

On the normalization question, 75% of young Arabs in the UAE, 73% in Egypt and 50% in Morocco “strongly support” or “somewhat support” ties with Israel. In Bahrain, the figure dropped to 30%, with 53% “strongly opposing” or “somewhat opposing” normalization with Israel. Of the other 14 countries included in the survey, most saw opposition percentages in the 80s and 90s, with respondents in Iraq and the Palestinian Territories both 100% against warmer ties.

As in previous surveys, the UAE was very highly regarded by respondents. For the 12th consecutive year, Arab youth chose the UAE as the country they’d most want to live in, as well as the country they’d most want their own to emulate. Reasons included the UAE’s  growing economy, entrepreneurial opportunities and successful leadership. More than four in 10 young Arabs associate the UAE with a “safe and secure environment.”

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