'I welcome US public's support'

PM says Americans' favorable views of Israel reflects shared concerns.

By RONEN SHNIDMAN
July 31, 2010 22:04
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Bibi smiling and pointing 311 ap. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reacted positively during a closed meeting to discuss a Gallup poll that showed that the American public's support for Israel at it's highest level since the First Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein fired Scud missiles at Israeli population centers, Saturday evening.

A Gallup poll conducted in February as part of Gallup's yearly World Affairs survey found that 67 percent Americans hold a favorable opinion of Israel, among the highest favorable ratings for the 20 countries surveyed, JTA reported. The poll also found that 63 percent of Americans supported Israel in the Middle East conflict, while 15 percent supported the Palestinians. The rest of those polled favored both sides, neither side, or had no opinion with respect to the conflict.

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"This support reflects the goals shared by the American and Israeli peoples: the achievement of peace and security and a world consisting of free, liberal democracies. Israel desires peace, and at the same time struggles against terror and extremism, just like the US, and this is the basis for the strong ties between the two countries and two peoples," said Netanyahu.

The American public's support and the prime minister's talk of shared concerns comes at an important moment in the countries relations as most Israelis – 57.5 percent – think that US President Barack Obama favors the Palestinians according to the July Peace Index released by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University.

A Jerusalem Post poll found similar results after Netanyahu's reportedly positive visit to the White House in July and after Obama gave his first interview as president to an Israeli television station. The Smith Research poll commissioned by the Post found that Obama's efforts did not make much of a dent in Israeli opinion.

When asked whether they saw Obama’s administration as more pro-Israel, more pro- Palestinian or neutral, just 10 percent of Israeli Jews said more pro-Israel, 46% said more pro-Palestinian, 34% said neutral and 10% did not express an opinion.

The poll of 515 Jewish Israelis, representing a statistical sample of the adult Jewish population, had a 4.4 percentage point margin of error.

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.


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