WASHINGTON – American Jews are more optimistic about the chances of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal and are less hardline in their views of core issues such as Jerusalem and settlements than the Israeli public is, according to a new survey.

Pluralities of both groups see American Jews’ opinion as important when it comes to making Israeli-Palestinian peace, with 45 percent of Israelis thinking so as opposed to 21% who don’t, and 58% of American Jews who do versus 20% who don’t.

That opinion, however, tends to be more to the Left than the Israeli Jewish public, according to a poll conducted in September by James Zogby of Zogby Research Services on behalf of the Sir Bani Yas Forum in the United Arab Emirates.

The pollsters also interviewed Israeli Arabs, as well as Palestinians in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip Lebanon and Jordan. Some 1,061 Israeli Jews and 500 American Jews were interviewed with identical sets of questions.

Asked whether Jerusalem would need to serve as the capital for both Israeli and Palestinian states to reach a peace deal, for instance, 54% of Israelis opposed that view, while only 27% of American Jews did.

Asked whether the rights of Palestinian refugees would need to be recognized for a deal to be reached, 57% of Israelis disagreed, while just 29% of Jewish Americans did.

Where 41% of Israeli Jews saw continued settlement expansion as a serious obstacle to peace, 52% of American Jews saw it that way, with only 17% not viewing settlement growth as a serious obstacle (37% of Israeli Jews said it was not).

And American Jews were more positive about the role of US and EU participation in the peace process, with half believing that they demonstrated a clear resolve to push for a peace deal that would make peace more likely while only 35% of Jewish Israelis felt similarly.

There were also several points of near-identical agreement between the two populations, including on the importance of the United States’ opinion in forging a peace agreement (Israeli Jews said US opinion was important by a 58-17 margin and Jewish Americans by 56-18 margin) and on the necessity to reach a negotiated agreement on which settlements Israel will annex (with 45% of Israeli Jews and 46% of American Jews agreeing).

The survey was conducted before last month’s violence with Gaza and UN General Assembly vote granting Palestinians nonmember state status.

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