During the 24-hours the survey was posted on Israel’s Foreign Ministry’s Arabic Twitter page, hundreds responded with most showing interest in visiting Israel, while some expressed their disdain with Israel.
• Iraqi: ‘My dream to visit Israel’
• Riyadh resident: ‘Israel is better than all Arab states’
• Foreign Ministry says hundreds of messages are sent daily from Arab countries.
By Daniel Siryoti
An international survey in Arabic by Israel’s Foreign Ministry this week drew thousands of responses and found that a majority of respondents, 57%, expressed interest in visiting Israel.
“I am Iraqi, and I am interested in visiting Israel,” one Twitter user wrote in a post to the Foreign Ministry’s Arabic Twitter page.
Twitter poll by Israeli Foreign Ministry guy in Arabic – would you visit Israel? Yes 57%; No 43%. 691 voters. https://t.co/GRhK38wLPF
— Imshin (@imshin) January 13, 2018
Another Iraqi citizen wrote, “I hope to fulfill my dream of going to Israel.”
A resident of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, went so far as to write, “Israel has become an established reality and it is a better country than all the Arab states.”
As could have been expected, some responded angrily to the survey, with one person writing, “Where is Israel anyway? We will only go to Palestine, there is no such thing called Israel.”
An Algerian journalist tweeted, “We will only visit you when the time of your annihilation approaches. We will be happy to visit you only under the auspices of a Palestinian state.”
Although the survey appeared on the ministry’s Twitter page for only 24 hours, it drew thousands of responses.
“We receive hundreds of messages on a daily basis, whether in response to posts we publish or in private messages, from residents of the Arab world who express a true desire to visit Israel,” said Yonatan Gonen, head of the Foreign Ministry’s Arabic-language digital diplomacy department.
Gonen said that while it was difficult to tell whether the posts were indicative of the general sentiments toward Israel in the region, the online survey was aimed at gauging the opinions of the ministry’s followers on Twitter in the Arab world, as well as “generating interest and dialogue.”
He said some of those who contact the Foreign Ministry do so in the hopes of receiving medical treatment or finding employment.
“We have even received a request to work for the Foreign Ministry,” he said.
According to the Foreign Ministry, a significant portion of the messages come from Iraqis interested in coming to Israel to meet up with Iraqi Jews they knew as children.
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