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      Poll: Israelis Trust the U.S., But Not Obama

      Two thirds of Israelis would support military strike on Iran if diplomacy fails. Three of 10 think Romney will improve relations.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 6/14/2012, 10:56 PM

      Barack Obama
      Barack Obama
      Reuters

      A poll of Israelis finds that they trust the United States to come to Israel's help in an existential threat, but do not trust President Barack Obama. The poll was prepared for the Begin Sadat Center at Bar Ilan University and the Anti-Defamation League.

      Nearly 70 percent of Israelis have a positive attitude toward the U.S., and believe the U.S. is a loyal ally of Israel. More than 90 percent believe that in an existential crisis or “moment of truth," the U.S. would come to Israel’s aid.

      Israelis view President Obama with increasing suspicion, however, the poll finds. Since 2009, the percentage of Israelis who said they view him "positively" has dropped sharply from 54 to 32 percent, while the percentage of Israelis who view him “very unfavorably” has risen from 14 to 23 percent.

      Forty-one percent of Israelis are “unsatisfied” or “very unsatisfied” with Obama’s policies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Fifty-three percent of Israelis feel that that Obama has erred in his policy response to the “Arab Spring,” and 38 percent feel that Obama has weakened the standing of the U.S. in the Middle East.

      Thirty percent of Israelis think that Republican Mitt Romney, if elected, will improve US-Israel relations, although 38 percent say they “don’t know” what Romney would do, while only 8 percent think that Obama will improve US-Israel relations.

      If diplomatic efforts fail to stop the Iranian drive towards a nuclear bomb, 66 percent of Israelis would support an Israeli military strike on Iran. Of those supporting Israeli military action, 71% would continue to support such action even if Washington opposed an Israeli strike.

      Sixty percent of Israelis believe that American Jews continue to be close to Israel – up from 45 percent in 2009 – while 26 percent fear that U.S. Jews are drifting away from Israel.

      The survey of Israeli opinion was prepared for the international conference on “American-Israeli Relations,” which will take place next Sunday and Monday at the BESA Center. It was conducted by the Maagar Mochot polling agency, which surveyed 540 adult Jewish Israelis. The margin of error is given as ±4.5 percent.