May 5, 2009
By Aluf Benn
A large majority of Israeli Jews support military action aimed at destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to a survey sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League.
According to the poll, co-sponsored by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, a large majority of those who support a move by the army said they would maintain their support even if the Obama administration opposed it.
An overwhelming majority also said they believed close relations with the United States were essential for ensuring Israel’s security.
The survey, administered by the Maagar Mochot research institute, involved 610 respondents, constituting a representative sample of Israeli Jews over the age of 18.
Asked about military action against Iran, 66 percent said they approved of it, 15 percent said they were opposed and 19 percent said they did not know. Among those who said they approved army action, 15 percent said they would change their minds if the United States opposed it, while 75 percent said they would not. The rest said they did not know or gave other answers.
Focusing on Israeli-U.S. relations in the Obama era, the survey revealed concern over possible erosion of U.S. support for Israel, and over a rapprochement between the United States and Arab countries at the expense of Israel.
Sixty percent of the respondents said they had a “positive” or “very positive” attitude toward President Obama. However, only 38 percent said they thought his attitude to Israel was friendly – in contrast to 73 percent of respondents in a 2007 poll, who defined the attitude of the previous president, George W. Bush, as friendly.
Asked whether reconciliation with the Arab and Muslim world would come at the expense of Israel’s interests, 63 percent said they believed it would; 71 percent, however, said the interests of the United States and Israel were “similar” or “complemented each other.”
Most Israelis, according to the poll, follow the news in America, mainly through the Israeli media.