73 Percent of Israelis Want Fewer or No New Immigrants, Finds Global Pew Poll

With a record 21.3 million refugees globally, the United Nations adopted a deal Monday aimed at improving the way world copes with rising migration

The central bus station in Tel Aviv, August 22, 2017.
Moti Milrod

Pew Research Center published a poll Monday of attitudes towards migrants in twenty-seven around the world - finding that Israelis are among the most anti-immigration populations surveyed.

The survey results were published the same day the United Nations on adopted a deal aimed at improving the way world copes with rising migration, but almost 30 countries stayed away from the ceremony in Morocco.

The pact, meant to foster cooperation on migration, was agreed in July by all 193 UN members except the United States, but only 164 formally signed it at the meeting on Monday.

Ten countries, mostly in formerly Communist Eastern Europe, have pulled out. Six more, among them Israel and Bulgaria, are debating whether to quit, a UN spokesman said after the pact was adopted. He did not say whether the rest of the countries absent from the conference in Marrakesh might also pull out.

With a record 21.3 million refugees globally, the United Nations began work on the non-binding pact after more than 1 million people arrived in Europe in 2015, many fleeing civil war in Syria and poverty in Africa.

Pew reported that, “In Europe, majorities in Greece (82%), Hungary (72%), Italy (71%) and Germany (58%) say fewer immigrants or no immigrants at all should be allowed to move to their countries.”

“Large majorities in Israel (73%), Russia (67%), South Africa (65%) and Argentina (61%) say their countries should let in fewer immigrants,” the survey added. Israel at 73% had the second highest rate of respondents wanting fewer or no immigrants coming into the country - second only to Greece.

In every country surveyed, less than a third say their nation should allow more immigrants to enter.

Among the countries surveyed Israel has the second largest per-capita immigrant population. According to Pew, “Immigrants make up the largest shares of national populations in Australia (29%), Israel (24%), Canada (22%) and Sweden (18%). About 14% of the U.S. population is foreign born, a share comparable to that of Germany (15%), the UK (13%) and Spain (13%).”

Reuters contributed to this report