Arab state leaders considering entering into or maintaining normalization with Israel might gauge whether expected benefits from normalization would outweigh concerns about popular criticism or unrest they might face for possibly undermining the Palestinian cause.47 Public opinion polls from the past decade suggest relatively unchanging and widespread Arab opposition to diplomatic recognition of Israel.48 Normalization efforts to date have not triggered significant unrest, but outside insight is limited into public opinion, its drivers, and how popular reactions are shaped by the nature of authoritarian Arab regimes. It is unclear whether Gulf populations with no direct history of armed conflict with Israel might be more willing to accept pragmatic cooperation with Israel than those in Egypt, Jordan, and other countries who have fought Israel in the past.


Which Middle Eastern country has the highest public approval for a diplomatic recognition of Israel? This article mentioned that the idea of diplomatic recognition of Israel is deeply unpopular among the populace, so I was wondering since public polling data should be available for this, which country had the highest approval to any normalization efforts being carried out in the hopes of normalizing relationship with Israel.

  • Not my DV, but while such past polls surely exist (google e.g. "Arab barometer") there will probably be some changes due to current events in the region. Feb 29 at 23:38
  • 2
    Most Middle Eastern countries are dictatorships so the opinion of the populace hardly matters. What matters is the opinion of the ruling 0.1%. Mar 1 at 5:50
  • I respect CRS reports as a source. Curious what they will say in the next release on this subject, as the quote came from a May 2021 issue.
    – Pete W
    Mar 2 at 2:33

1 Answer 1


If we're talking before this Gaza war, apparently Sudan 39% (although technically it's not ME), Morocco 31% (ibid), and then Lebanon 17%, closely followed by Iraq 14%.

enter image description here

Apparently they were not able/allowed to poll in Saudi Arabia or UAE on this. So, the poll is rather incomplete. (One reason for that might be that this pollster also asks questions about democracy, and that might not be palatable in Gulf monarchies.)

Anyhow, there's also some commentary in that source:

These two countries are part of the broader Abraham Accords, with Morocco having completed the normalization process with Israel while Sudan has initiated the process. In the case of Morocco, the U.S. recognized Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara simultaneously with normalization. In the case of Sudan, the U.S. committed to removing Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism as part of the normalization process. As such, it is possible that the relative popularity of normalization in both countries is the result of citizens focusing on the strategic benefits that each agreement has brought to their country.

But, judging by the broad rejection of normalization with Israel by Jordanians and Egyptians, whose governments made peace with Israel a generation ago, these relatively favorable views toward peace with Israel may fade over time.

Regarding the Saudi public, they can be polled on some topics. But one should keep in mind that diffrences in question wording etc. make direct poll comparisons more iffy.

A rare public opinion poll in Saudi Arabia, commissioned by the Washington Institute and conducted in March/April 2023 by a reputable regional firm, reveals an intriguing mix of attitudes—some in line with emerging Saudi government policies; others, not so much.

[...] Moreover, as in previous polls since November 2020, around 40% of Saudis continue to accept economic ties with Israel. In this survey, 38% answered in the affirmative to this proposition: “If it would help our economy, it would be acceptable to have some business deals with Israeli companies.”

By way of instructive comparison, affirmative responses to this question in Egypt or Jordan, both officially at peace with Israel for several decades, have hovered at around the 10% range in every recent survey. [...]

But Full Normalization and Military or Humanitarian Cooperation with Israel Lag Well Behind

This relatively high level of popular acceptance and nuanced attitudes, however, does not mean that most Saudis favor full normalization with Israel today—nor active cooperation with it against Iran. Again as in previous recent polls, just 20% say that the Abraham Accords will yield positive results for the Middle East. An equally small minority (18%) express agreement with this proposition: “Despite our differences with Israel on other issues, some Arab states should cooperate with Israel against the threats we face from Iran.”

TBH there seems to be large variation in the results of such polls. I'm not sure where this other poll set the age treshold for youths, but FWTW:

June 22, 2023

The survey demonstrates that 50% of Moroccan youth are in favor of normalizing ties with Israel, while 44% oppose it. Similarly, in Egypt, 73% of young people support the normalization of relations, with only 12% opposing it.

The UAE follows closely, with 70% of its youth favoring normalization and 16% opposing it.

These results highlight a stark contrast to the sentiments expressed by Iraqi and Libyan youth, as 100% and 99% of them, respectively, strongly oppose the normalization of ties with Israel.

The survey found that 98% of youth in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon are opposed to normalizing relations with Israel, indicating a significant difference in opinions across the Arab world.

enter image description here

Note that the wording in the latter poll Q included the word 'diplomatic'.

  • Turkey? Iran? Yes, I do realize that you have stipulated that the poll is incomplete, but I suspect that (at least in case of Iran), the public opinion may be quite different from the government position. Even if it's not, the public opinion in Iran and Turkey would be an interesting insight into policy. In both of those countries, the public has a history of making its voice heard in regards to policy. Also, while I realize that "normalization of relations" is pretty close to "recognition," they are not quite the same.
    – wrod
    Mar 2 at 10:12
  • @wrod: they don't count as 'Arab' so that pollster would not poll them. And yea, a slightly diff question may answered differently, even in the same countries. I'll check if the Pew polls which more broadly cover the Muslim world have this Q. (The OP tends to accept answers fairly quickly which sometimes dissuades additional answers.) Alas while that Arab center runs their polls rather regularly, Pew's polls on the Muslim world are much more infrequent. E.g. there was one 10 years ago pewresearch.org/religion/2013/04/30/… Mar 2 at 21:46
  • And Pew was unable to poll in Iran (or Saudi Arabia). Mar 2 at 21:51

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