A pair of US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israelis support US actions against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria more than the citizens of 40 countries polled – including the US – according to a recent Pew global survey.
The poll, conducted among samples of 1,000 people in each of the countries surveyed during April and March and released over the last two days, found that fully 84 percent of Israelis support the US actions against Islamic State, compared to 80% of Americans who support the policy.
The strongest opposition to the policy comes from Russia, where 67% are opposed, and then Argentina (62%).
The poll also showed that 50% of Israelis have no confidence in US President Barack Obama’s ability to “do the right thing regarding world affairs,” placing it seventh among the 40 countries polled.
Only 49% of Israelis expressed confidence in Obama, down from 71% last year, reflecting the high-profile disagreements between the two countries over Iran and the Palestinian issue.
One might think that the president’s relative unpopularity in Israel would make him more popular in Muslim countries in the region, but that would be a mistake.
Only 14% of Jordanians, and 15% of Palestinians in the territories have confidence in Obama.
Likewise, in Lebanon only 36% percent are confident of his ability to deal with world affairs, and that number is 45% in Turkey – still a lower rate of confidence than in Israel.
Russia, predictably, led the list of countries with the least confidence (86%) in the president’s diplomatic abilities.
The Philippines have the most confidence in Obama’s abilities on the world stage (94%), followed by South Korea (88%) and France (83%), all far outstripping the US, where only 58% have confidence, and 42% responded that they have no confidence in their president regarding world affairs.
Despite high-profile friction between Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 81% of Israelis have a favorable view of the US, one of the highest percentages in the world.
This contrasts starkly with how the US is viewed in the Palestinian territories, where only 26% have a favorable view; in Turkey, where that number is 29%; and in Jordan, where only 14% of the population have a favorable opinion of the US, the lowest rate among the 40 nations surveyed, even one percentage point behind Russia.
In Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Lebanon, China is viewed more favorably than the US.
Only five countries of the 40 surveyed have a more favorable opinion of the US than Israel. Those countries, in order from the top of the list, are the Philippines, Ghana, Kenya, South Korea and Italy.