On 7 October, Hamas militants carried out a terrorist attack against Israel that claimed more than 1,400 lives, most of them civilians. In response to the action of the Palestinian terrorist organisation, Israel has launched a military operation in the Gaza Strip to destroy Hamas infrastructure. At the same time, mass demonstrations, not without antisemitic manifestations, in support of Palestine or Hamas took place in many major cities in Western Europe. In light of these developments, Századvég has mapped public attitudes towards the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Hungarians sympathise with Israel

The starting point of the survey was to assess the perceptions of Israel, Palestine and Hamas among the adult Hungarian population, and to establish an approval index as a difference between positive and negative opinions. It can be seen that

Israel’s approval index is in the positive range (plus 8), while the index is clearly negative for Palestine (minus 55) and Hamas (minus 83).

More simply put, the Hungarian public sympathises with Israel, while there is considerable rejection of Hamas in Hungary. The latter result is inseparable from the fact that

an overwhelming majority (94%) of the respondents had heard that the Hamas terrorist organisation had killed more than a thousand civilians in the Jewish state in recent weeks.

Recently, anti-Israel voices have intensified in the public discourse. In the European Parliament, among others, a group of left-wing MEPs questioned Israel’s right to self-defence, while in the Hungarian Parliament, Ákos Hadházy, a left-wing liberal member, voted against a parliamentary resolution condemning Hamas’ attack on Israel. In this context, the public opinion survey reveals

a strongly negative approval rating of pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas politicians in Hungary (minus 71) and Brussels (minus 70),

i.e. the Hungarian population is strongly critical of anti-Israel public figures.

Concern over the growing threat of Islamist terrorism

The escalation of the conflict between Israel and Hamas has led to a growing terrorist threat in Europe. In October, Islamist terrorists carried out two terrorist attacks in six days in France and Belgium, killing three people and seriously injuring several others. Against this background, it is not surprising that

87% of respondents are concerned that Islamic terrorism could re-emerge in Europe in the near future.
• Methodology

CATI method, n=1,000, among Hungarian adults, data collection: November 2023