David N. Robinson
Israelis have an extremely positive view of US President Donald Trump and his administration, and are largely isolated in this outlook in the international community, a survey by the Pew Research Center shows.
The poll of America’s standing in 25 countries, published Monday, shows 82 percent of Jewish Israelis have confidence in Trump’s handling of global affairs (69 percent among Israelis overall) while 94% of Jewish Israelis have a favorable view of the US in general (83 percent overall).
Israeli approval of the US and its president was not widely shared in other countries surveyed, where ratings were generally at historic lows: Views of Washington are dim — and falling — in many nations which are key allies of the US, including Germany (30 percent favorability), Canada (39 percent) and France (38 percent). The UK was evenly split at 50 percent.
Though some nations showed a ratings improvement between 2017 to 2018 — such as Spain, Japan, South Korea, Brazil and South Africa — all but three of the countries surveyed continued to view the US less favorably than under the Obama administration, those three being, Israel, Russia and Kenya.
Israel was tied with the Philippines for the highest overall rating for the current administration at 83 percent. Among Israeli Jews that figure was still higher at 94 percent, while only 43 percent of Arabs agreed.
Israeli appreciation for the US actually went up over the past year, from 81 percent in 2016 and 2017.
Pollsters also noted that respondents on the political right were generally far more enthusiastic than those on the left, with the divide in Israel (94 percent to 57 percent) being the largest between countries polled.
Israelis were also more convinced than any other respondents that the US was doing more to address global problems in the past two years, with 52 percent expressing that sentiment. The only other countries to come close were Nigeria (48 percent) and Kenya (42 percent), while in most European countries that number was in single digits or low teens.
Israel is also far ahead of most countries in the belief that Washington takes its interests into account, with 86 percent saying the administration considers Israeli interests when making decisions. Once again the Philippines (74 percent) and Kenya (63 percent) were closest to the Israeli position, while the median for all countries was only 28 percent.
While most respondents did not register a major change in their nations’ relationship with the US between this year and last, Israelis once again stood out, with 79 percent saying ties had improved — likely a result of the US decision in December 2017 to recognize Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital and move its embassy there.
And while, as noted above, 69 percent of Israelis trust Trump’s handling of international relations, the number is far above the median of all 25 nations, which stands at 27 percent.