Poll: Americans Oppose Disengagement

Two -thirds of Americans are opposed to the disengagement plan, according to a professional poll. Another survey shows a sharp division between Orthodox Jews and Conservative and Reform Jews.

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, | updated: 03:26

The survey conducted for the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) by McLaughlin & Associates, a major polling firm, was carried out last week and sampled 1,000 Americans from all religions.

It showed that more than 60 percent of Americans oppose the Israeli government’s plan to forcibly transfer more than 9,000 Jews out of their homes this summer and abandon their lands, in Gaza and northern Samaria, to the Palestinian Authority (PA, or whichever Arab group gets there first and is strongest. The results "expose the myth that Americans support disengagement," according to ZOA president Morton Klein.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which supports the government plan, released a poll earlier this year showing that a majority of Americans favored it. Klein said the ADL poll was meaningless because "the population polled [was] either misinformed…or uniformed." He also questioned the wording of the ADL poll.

The new McLaughlin survey also showed that one-half of Americans polled agree that "this Gaza plan sends a message that Arab terrorism is being rewarded." An overwhelming majority of respondents oppose continuing aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Another poll, conducted by Yeshiva University, found that 56 percent of Orthodox Jews in America are against the Israeli government’s evacuation plan while more than two-thirds of Reform and Conservative Jews support it.

"It really indicates a break between Orthodoxy and the rest of American Jewry," said City University of New York sociologist Samuel Heilman. "That's a gap that's been growing. It indicates a sliding to the right of Orthodoxy, both religiously and politically."

In Israel, polls showed that last week's violence between anti-evacuation activists and the police and army boosted support for the plan to above 60 percent. Many opponents of the Jewish Transfer have accused government agents of provoking the disruptions, which climaxed with the forible removal from Gush Katif of several hundred people who had taken up residence in a refurbished hotel.

A majority of Likud party backers are against the plan, according to a poll by Israel Radio, while almost all of Labor party supporters support the policy.