Only a third of the Germans believes in Germany's special obligation towards Israel


Central Europe


Protesters hold placards, banners and Palestinian flags as several hudreds of people attend a demonstration in solidarity with Palestinians, in Berlin. Photo EPA, Hannibal Hanschke

German politicians do their utmost to show their solidarity with Israel. However, research shows that only a third of the population shares that opinion.

Germany has a special obligation to support Israel in the war against Hamas because of its Holocaust history, many politicians in the country believe. But even though the German population worries about the current conflict in Israel, only one in three believes that Germany should support Israel unconditionally, Idea reports.

This was shown by a study, commissioned by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). Germans, in general, understand that Israel is a country surrounded by constant threats, which became extra visible in the cruel attacks on October 7. However, the population is very divided on how Israel should respond to this.

About 35 per cent support Israel's right to invade the Gaza Strip and fight Hamas with violence. However, 38 per cent believe more in a "cautious approach to avoid casualties among the Palestinian population and increasing support for Hamas."


According to FAZ, women and Eastern Germans are most likely to take the latter position. In Western Germany, 37 per cent believe Israel should limit its military action, while 45 per cent of Eastern Germans share this opinion. According to 44 per cent, Israel makes too little effort to improve the situation of the Palestinian population. Especially people who are interested in politics believe so. This shows that many Germans do not share the full support of their government for Israel.

At the same time, the newspaper points out that the support for Israel has been lower in the past. For example, when Israel invaded Lebanon in response to Hezbollah's rocket attacks, only 21 per cent supported the invasion, and 53 per cent opposed it.

In general, most Germans believe that the relationship between their country and Israel is special. However, only 34 per cent believe that this relationship burdens Germany with a special responsibility for Israel's future.

Military aid

FAZ points out that there is no significant difference in support between age groups. Therefore, the newspaper rejects the thesis that the attitude towards Israel would be changing because the time distance between the present and the Holocaust is growing. "In the over 60 age group, 33 per cent see Israel as a country that deserves our special support, while in the under 30 age group, the figure is 34 per cent", the newspaper writes.

Higher social classes are more likely to support Israel than other social sections. A large part of the population would support humanitarian aid and diplomatic efforts. However, most people also prefer Germany not to take a side in the conflict and stay out of it. Only 41 per cent support expressions of solidarity with Israel. Military aid is out of question if it would be up to the German population. FAZ explains that "unless the population fears an acute threat to their own country, it is always difficult to find support for military aid." At the same time, Germans are also worried about anti-Israel demonstrations.


However, no matter the public opinion, Protestant bishop Friedrich Kramer expresses full solidarity with the people in Israel and Palestine, Idea writes. Kramer, who is the regional bishop of the Protestant Church in Central Germany (EKM), said so before the regional Synod started. Kramer calls anti-Semitism "a sin" and stresses that the EKM stands firmly behind Jewish communities in Central Germany.



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