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4% of Israeli Jews: Obama pro-Israel Print E-mail

By Gil Hoffman
August 27, 2009

The number of Israelis who see US President Barack Obama's policies as pro-Israel has fallen to four percent, according to a Smith Research poll taken this week on behalf of The Jerusalem Post.

Fifty-one percent of Jewish Israelis consider Obama's administration more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israel, according to the survey, while 35% consider it neutral and 10% declined to express an opinion. The poll of 500 people representing a statistical model of the Jewish Israeli population had a margin of error of 4.5%.

A much-cited Post poll published on June 19 that put the first figure at 6% had been cited by top officials in both the White House and the Prime Minister's Office as the catalyst for recent American efforts to improve the American-Israeli relationship. But the new poll proves that those efforts have not improved Obama's reputation among Israelis.

The earlier poll, taken shortly after Obama reached out to the Muslim world in a landmark address in Cairo, found that 50% of those sampled considered the administration's policies more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israeli, and 36% said the policies were neutral. The remaining 8% did not express an opinion.

Obama's popularity among Israelis has been plummeting since a May 17 Post poll on the eve of a meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Obama at the White House. In that poll, 31% labeled Obama pro-Israel, 14% considered him pro-Palestinian, 40% said he was neutral, and 15% declined to give an opinion.

The May poll found that Israelis' views of Obama's predecessor in the White House, George W. Bush, were nearly the opposite. Some 88% of Israelis considered Bush's administration pro-Israel, 7% said he was neutral and just 2% labeled him pro-Palestinian.

The new poll was taken on Monday and Tuesday, before reports that Obama had agreed to exclude Jerusalem from a deal with Netanyahu on a construction freeze and to allow construction of essential public buildings, such as schools, to continue in Judea and Samaria.

The poll asked Jewish Israelis whether they would support freezing settlement construction for a year as part of an American-brokered deal. Fifty percent said no, 41% said yes and 9% did not express an opinion.

The respondents' views on a settlement freeze followed closely the platforms of the parties they voted for in the March 10 election.

Among those who voted Likud, which opposed a settlement freeze during the campaign, 73% would oppose such a deal.

Two-thirds of Kadima voters said they supported a settlement freeze.

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