A recent poll reveals that while 96% of Israelis view relations with the US as vital, 61% say Obama’s attitude towards the Jewish state is either negative or neutral.
A public opinion poll conducted by Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) shows that while Israel considers its partnership with the US central, Israelis are much more disapproving of President Obama’s policies than they were two years ago. The poll results were released in advance of a seminar that took place Monday on campus, titled “America’s Standing in the World: Image and Reality.”
Israelis See US as Important, Loyal Ally
According to the survey, a whopping 96% of Israelis consider political ties with the US “important” or “very important.” At the same time, 73% believe the US to be a loyal ally of the Jewish State, and 74% believe that the US would protect Israel against existential threats.
While 95% of citizens attribute their overall security to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Israel’s ties with the US ranked next in importance, with 91% citing relations with Washington as a determining factor.
More than half of Israelis believe the relationship between the US and Israel is a product of their strategic partnership, while 44% see their interests as “identical.”
Similarly, 77% of American Jews feel either “close” or “very close” to Israel.
Israelis Overwhelmingly Pro-America
Though they attach great significance to maintaining a strong partnership with America, Israelis are very critical of Obama’s policies on Israel and his Mideast strategy generally.
According to the poll, 52% of Israelis say Obama’s handling of the conflict in Israel is “bad,” while 51% disapprove of his policies on Iran and 47% criticize his approach to ISIS. Sixty-five percent believe that since Obama’s election, the position of the US in the Middle East has “weakened” or “significantly weakened.”
Only 37% of Israelis think Obama’s personal attitude towards Israel is “positive,” while 37% believe it to be “negative,” and another 24% say it is “neutral.” Compared to a similar poll taken by BESA in 2012, Israeli approval of Obama has dropped by 15%.
A co-director of the survey, Dr. Yael Elkon, said the results show that “despite the fact that Israelis are deeply disconcerted about President Obama’s Middle East policies with regards to Israeli-Palestinian affairs, regional uprisings and Iran, the Israeli public remains one of the most pro-American communities in the world.”
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