The poll included 500 men and women aged 18 and over. The results show that the tomato is considered the "most Israeli vegetable," with 44.4 percent of the vote.
Over half of the respondents (54%) said that they prefer to eat their tomatoes in salads, compared to 17.9% who like to eat them plain, and 11% who like them as a sauce.
Tomatoes are especially popular with people aged 50 and older, the majority of whom (56%) answered that it's the only vegetable for which there is no replacement.
Meanwhile, citrus fruit was the most popular fruit in Israel.
Israelis don't like to peel
Another result of the survey showed that Israelis don't like to peel their tomatoes. Dr. Ilan Levin of the Department of Vegetables and Crops at the Volcan Institute says that it's actually recommended to eat tomatoes with their peels as the peel contains anti-oxidants which are beneficial for the human body.
He added, "Tomatoes contain essential anti-oxidants and are vital for good nutrition. They contain alpha and beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene. Together, these anti-oxidants strengthen the immune system and protect the body against illness. In addition, tomato juice is a really healthy drink, as it helps with lung function and protects against damage to DNA."
Lycopene is the pigment which gives fruits and vegetables their color and is thought of as a strong and stable anti-oxidant. It helps to repair and prevent damage to cells. Many studies have found that it also helps reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Research conducted at Harvard University in the 1990s shows that men who eat at least 10 meals a week which contain tomatoes are 34% less likely to develop prostate cancer. More recent studies show that those with a lycopene rich diet reduce the risk of breast cancer by 30-50%.
According to the head researcher in the poll, Professor Yoram Kapulnik, "the Israeli public consumes a large amount of fruits and vegetables. The poll strengthens the theory of the tomato being the 'most Israeli vegetable.' Tomatoes are high in nutritional value, and their consumption also provides the public with other wide-ranging health benefits."