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Israeli Public: Government Disrespects American Jews – Poll

A poll by the Ruderman Family Foundation reveals 72 percent of Israelis believe that PM Benjamin Netanyahu was wrong not to condemn recent anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S.; 47 percent believe Netanyahu is not doing enough to strengthen the relationship with U.S. Jewry; and a vast majority of the Israeli public opposes disdainful statements about Diaspora Jews by Members of Knesset

The Ruderman Family Foundation, a leading organization committed to bridging the gap between Israelis and US Jewry, released the poll last week as thousands of U.S. Jews gather in Tel Aviv for the Jewish Federations of North America 2018 General Assembly. The poll also found that while most Israelis opposes disdainful statements about Diaspora Jews by Members of Knesset,  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 percent of the Israeli public does not agree with what Amsalem said, compared to 31 percent which agrees. When asked about Smotrich’s statement, 60 percent of the public responded that it does not agree, compared to 32 percent 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 percent of the Orthodox public voiced their support, as opposed to only 20.5 percent of the non-observant public. The same held for Smotrich’s statement against American Jews, with 33.2 percent of the Orthodox public voicing their support, compared to 18.8 percent of the nonobservant public.

“The data shows Israelis appreciate what U.S. 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.

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