72 percent of Israelis believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should have condemned recent anti-Semitic events in the United States, while close to half of the public (47%) feels Netanyahu has not done enough to strengthen relations with the American Jewish community.
The poll conducted by the Ruderman Family Foundation, a leading organization committed to bridging the gap between Israelis and US Jewry. The results released on Monday as thousands of US Jews gather in Tel Aviv for the Jewish Federations of North America 2018 General Assembly.
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The poll revealing that the Israeli public feels Netanyahu’s government disrespects US Jews. It also found that a vast majority of the Israeli public opposes disdainful statements about Diaspora Jews by Members of Knesset, while the Orthodox public shows almost double support for such statements than the nonobservant public.
Respondents were asked about statements made by various members of Knesset regarding Israel-Diaspora relations, including the one made by Member of Knesset David Amsalem, who said that “It’s not the end of the world if American Jews are offended by the decisions of the Israeli government” and Member of Knesset Bezalel Smotrich’s statement that American Jews need Israel more than Israel needs American Jews. It was found that 60% of the Israeli public does not agree with what Amsalem said, compared to 31% which agrees. When asked about Smotrich’s statement, 60% of the public responded that it does not agree, compared to 32% of the public that did, in fact, agree with the statement.
However, polling data also shows that among the Orthodox community in Israel there is actually far greater support for these statements against American Jews. When it came to Amsalem’s comments, 40.9% of the Orthodox public voiced their support, as opposed to only 20.5% of the non-observant public. The same held for Smotrich’s statement against American Jews, with 33.2% of the Orthodox public voicing their support, compared to 18.8% of the nonobservant public.
“The data shows Israelis appreciate what US Jewry has done and does for the state of Israel, and that troubling statements by politicians don’t accurately reflect the feelings prevalent among the public. Let these calls be an awakening call for American Jewish leaders: instead of fighting with the Israeli leadership, connect to the public; instead of debating divisive issues, talk about a joined vision”, said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation.
The survey was conducted by Midgam (Mano Geva and Mina Zemach) and polled 500 respondents.