Nearly a quarter of Italians solicited in a national poll say Italian Jews are “not real Italians,” while many also oppose Israel’s existence.

The vast majority of the 700 people surveyed expressed ambivalence over their Jewish brethren. Fifty-one percent said they believe Jews had a different mentality and lifestyle to other Italians.

Fifty-two percent responded they don’t identify with Israel and have little sympathy for the Jewish state. While 70 percent said Israel has a right to exist even though its government makes mistakes, 17 percent said it would be better if the Jewish state “ceased to exist.”

The findings, which appeared yesterday in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, come on the heels of a European Union survey that found 59 percent of those polled consider Israel to be the greatest threat to world peace.

Italian sociologist professor Renato Mannheimer conducted the poll last week for the ISPO research institute in an effort to confirm whether Italians’ views mirrored those represented in the EU survey.

The anti-Semitism reflected by Italians runs counter to the pro-Israel stance of their government. On the same day the survey was released, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi opposed an EU initiative to condemn Israel for boycotting the European body’s Middle East envoy Mark Otte, reports the Financial Times.

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