On October 1, Shibley Telhami, Saban Center nonresident senior fellow and Anwar Sadat professor for peace and development at the University of Maryland, presented results of the 2009 University of Maryland/Zogby International opinion poll, conducted in August 2009, that surveyed Israeli Arabs and Palestinian public opinion.
The poll complements a series of other polls carried out by Telhami that have investigated the role of the media and views on major international issues in various Arab populations around the world. By analyzing the responses of Arab-Israelis as well as Arabs in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Morocco, Telhami compared the populations’ opinions on certain key issues ranging from self-identity to domestic and international affairs.
According to the poll, Arabs within Israel differ from other Arab communities in several fundamental ways, including increased exposure to the Internet. Telhami discussed the relevance of the media in the context of broader issues, such as attitudes toward the United States and toward President Barack Obama, which appeared to be more favorable among Arab-Israelis than among Arabs in other counties. Nevertheless, consistencies between the two populations could be found on a number of questions including those pertaining to the war in Iraq, Iran, and some aspects of the peace process (although there were some notable differences, particularly relating to the recent war in Gaza).