The common perception is that muslims don't perceive Israel (and Jews) in favorable light.

But is there a Muslim majority country where Israel (and Jews) is received in positive light overall?

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    before Edrogan's drive of Turkey in the present direction, only 32% in Turkey had negative views of Jews (poll in 2004).
    – user4012
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 16:17
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    Israel has good relations with Iraqi Kurdistan and may be viewed favorably there.
    – Colin
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 5:46
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    @ColinZwanziger, would you like to cite your source and expand your comment into an answer?
    – Graviton
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 5:57
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    Iraq used to be one, if you take the word of the late Naeim Giladi: inminds.com/jews-of-iraq.html
    – MMacD
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 14:33
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    @ColinZwanziger You're right! In the Middle East, (many) Kurds are also demanding a state of their own, like the Palestinians. But in many meetings they disagree on the issue of the right of Jewish people to have a state of their own as well. As for Turkey, unfortunately, the so-called "secularist" opposition is more anti-Semitic than the so-called "Islamist" ruling party, and anti-Semitism largely increased, unfortunately, as a byproduct of worsening relations between the governments of Israel and Turkey over the Gazza problem.
    – Sadi
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 9:19

5 Answers 5


A 2005 Pew Research survey on Islamic Extremism found that of the Muslim nations surveyed, people had overwhelmingly negative opinions of Jews. I'd be very surprised if attitudes to Israel were better. The most friendly Muslim nation surveyed being Turkey, with a meagre 18% having favourable opinions of Jews, does not speak well of the odds of finding a Muslim country which generally likes Jews. Even Indonesia; far removed from the Middle East, only had 13% approval rating for Jews.

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If we look at the number of Muslim nations which do not recognise Israel (Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, etc), along with those who forbid Israeli citizens from entry (Algeria, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, etc), things look bleaker still.

However, an unexpected example does exist in the form of Azerbaijan, whose people and government have had friendly relations with Jews and Israel for a long time.

During the luncheon, we learned a great deal about how and why Azerbaijan invests in and supports its Jewish community and Jewish heritage. The republic is home to one of the largest all-Jewish towns outside Israel, the centuries-old Red Village of Azerbaijan, whose Mountain Jews meet and pray in several stately synagogues. Azerbaijan’s capital city of Baku features a state-of-the-art Jewish day school with more than 300 students. Baku’s Chabad rabbi, born and raised in Israel, recently decided to become a citizen of Azerbaijan, a nation he is proud to call his new home. Baku has a beautiful new synagogue for the Mountain Jews, built in 2011 and paid for by the Azerbaijan government.

“Azerbaijan serves as a critical link for outreach to the Muslim world for our partners like the United States and Israel,” said Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, addressing American Jewish Committee’s 2013 Global Forum in Washington, D.C. His nation’s close, friendly relations with Israel are “reinforced by the strong bonds between our peoples.”

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    1- Israel and Jews are different. so statements like "If we look at the number of Muslim nations which do not recognize Israel..." are fallacy. 2- Azerbaijan's government is different from Azerbaijan's people.
    – user 1
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 17:53
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    Question asks about both the perception of Israel and Jews. I provided evidence to support perceptions, both of government and public opinions of israel and Jews respectively The article about Azerbaijan speaks of how both Jews and Azerbaijanis, Israel and the government of Azerbaijan, are friendly. You are wrong to vote the answer down for the reasons you have given.
    – user8398
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 19:36
  • "whose people and government have had friendly relations with Jews and Israel for a long time." So did the Ottoman Empire and Northern Africa for centuries, before the 2nd World War.
    – Bregalad
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 21:45
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    Now might need an update re UAE. It would be interesting to see the dynamics of popular opinion there, but I doubt compatible polls exist (yet)...
    – Zeus
    Commented Aug 4, 2022 at 7:44
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    Hate for Jews in the Arab Muslim world, while pretty severe, is nowhere near as severe as hate for Israeli Jews in the Arab Muslim world. Jews who are non-Israeli are historically seen as preferable to Christians... still be be killed if they won't covert to Islam but only after all the non-Jewish infidels are dealt with.
    – Ram
    Commented Aug 4, 2022 at 17:18

Obvious candidates include Turkey and former Soviet republics: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and possibly, Tajikistan (although Tajiks are basically the same people as in Iran, but of different religion, Sunni vs. Shia).

Israel has better relations with Muslim Azerbaijan than Christian Armenia.

Also, a case for Albania is quite strong:

Israel “never forgets its friends,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, upon welcoming him to his office at the start of a three day visit to the country.


Other candidates may or may not include Muslim countries of South-East Asia and Black Africa.

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    Turkey was the case pre-Islamistization under Edrogan.
    – user4012
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 0:58

It seems the Ottoman Empire was more friendly towards the Jews than the Christian majority nations of the time, but unfortunately it was not the case in the era of the so-called "secular" Republic of Turkey under the one-party regime of Atatürk, and then İnönü (successive leaders of CHP, now the main opposition party, and member of Socialist International).

However, Turkey chose to remain neutral in the Arab-Isreli conflicts, and even developed closer relations with Israel than Arab countries for decades as the only Muslim majority nation in NATO.

The situation did not get worse when the present ruling party (AKP) - with Islamic tendencies - came to power, contrary to the widespread perception. At the beginning AKP was even accused by its opponents of collaborating with Zionists! It also improved the rights of religious minorities, including Jews. For instance, the Struma Disaster (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Struma_disaster) began to be officially commemorated for the first time in 2015 (http://bianet.org/english/minorities/162583-turkey-s-first-official-struma-disaster-commemoration).

The relations only began to deteriorate when Erdoğan's efforts to mediate between Israel and Palestinians (HAMAS in particular) -- as well as between Syria and Israel -- collapsed, when the Netanyahu government launched a massive military clampdown on Gazza, and when Israeli soldiers killed a number of civilians travelling from Istanbul on an international aid boat, presumably heading towards Gazza in defiance of the blockade, whilst they were still in international waters.

All those political turmoils also had considerable influence on the public opinion, but relations have recently turned towards reconciliation again.


The common perception is that muslims don't perceive Israel (and Jews) in favorable light.

That's really where the problem is, the confusion between Judaism and Zionism. Judaism is a religion, whereas Zionism is an ideology held by some Jews. Jews lived pretty comfortably (levels varied by country) in Arab states up until 1948, when the state of Israel was created. Once that happened, Jews started being treated much worse, as it was assumed they were all Zionists, supported Israel, etc.

But is there a Muslim majority country where Israel (and Jews) is received in positive light overall?

Morocco is and has been for centuries, Saudi Arabia is very good, but there are even places like Iran where there is a Jewish community with a religious rabbi today (even though Khomeini chased most Jews out). While Iran (at least the gov't) is a genocidal country focused on destroying Israel, there is a Jewish community there that is relatively safe, as they are looked at as Jews and not Zionists.


Two question about your question: (i) - Israel or Jews? (ii)- Received in positive light by people or governments?

About Israel:
1- People: No. (At least, not among the countries which are effective in the Muslim world).
2- Government: Yes. e.g: Turkey, Azerbaijan, and all dictators in the middle east that have friendly relationships with the US, have friendly relationships with Israel too. Of course, some of these dictators (KSA, for example) don't reveal this friendliness because of how the people would react. Israel’s former head of military intelligence tells France24 it is “below the radar”. See also this Washington Post article about the Saudi-Israel relationship.

About Jews:
Yes. The Holy Quran recognize Moses (peace be upon him) and his followers. In some countries like Iran (which is the main enemy of Israel and supports Hezbollah and Hamas), Jews live together with Christians and Muslims in peace. Jews have members in the Iranian parliament. Still, in some countries with a Muslim majority, people do not have a good opinion of Jews. This is mostly because of Israel.

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    Point two is outright false. Saudi has never recognised Israel and has been BFFs with the USA since the end of the second world war. Point three is also outright false, ISIL force non-Muslims to pay taxes, convert, or die. They are also more concerned with Shias; who they hate more than Jews. They have declared war on everyone in the world, and simply have not reached Israel yet, because they are engaged in a battle for survival against rivals who are closer. The idea ISIL would be friends with Jews is laughable.
    – user8398
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 17:03
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    "Of course some these dictators (KSA, for example) dont reveal this friendliness" What evidence do you have for this? How can it be? They refuse to accept that Israel exists, and even refuse to admit Israeli citizens. Saudi Arabia's official textbooks are full of anti-Semitic hatred too.
    – user8398
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 17:28
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    Can you back up your claims with any reliable sources? Until then, -1.
    – Philipp
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 19:00
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    During The Troubles the PIRA had secret negotiations with the British government at various times. By your logic that would make them on "friendly" terms at the time. Which is absurd. Indeed the USA has been in negotiations with the Taliban lately. Does that make them friends too? Britain and America have a friendly relationship, France and Germany. Not Israel and Saudi. All he says is that meetings have been happening, not the extent of them or how friendly they've been. To infer from that, that this means they're friends, is making use of imagination and not facts.
    – user8398
    Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 9:55

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