Young Israelis more skeptical of Obama
Survey conducted by Bar-Ilan University Professor Eytan Gilboa on US-Israel ties shows public less fond of new US president than they are of America. Younger respondents more skeptical of president's policies than older ones, while total majority of 66% support military strike in Iran if all efforts fail
Young Israelis are more suspicious of US President Barack Obama and his policies than older Israelis, said a poll conducted by Professor Eytan Gilboa of Bar-Ilan University ahead of a conference on Israel-US relations to be held this week.
"The main point arising from the poll is concern regarding Obama's policies. Obama has been in office for a hundreds days now – and this is cause for concern, since people still haven't figured him out," said Gilboa, head of the university's international communications division.
"On the other hand, he has done quite a few things in these hundred days – like reaching out to Iran, warming up to Syria, and pressure on the Palestinian plane – that have also raised concerns.
"This poll has revealed that Israelis make a distinction between the United States and President Obama and his policies. They have less fondness for him than they have for the US, and display a certain degree of mistrust in him," the professor said.
Gilboa said the poll largely resembled a similar survey carried out in 2007 during former President George Bush's tenure. Only 38% of the respondents in the new poll said they believe that Obama's attitude towards Israel is a friendly one, compared to 73% in the 2007 poll regarding Bush.
Almost half of the respondents – 47% could not say whether they were satisfied with Obama's policies. About a third of the respondents – 32% said they were satisfied with his policies, and about a fifth said they were not satisfied.
Respondents over the age of 42 expressed more optimism and faith in Obama, while those aged 41 and under displayed more skepticism.
President Barack Obama popular among US youth (Photo: AFP)
Forty-one percent of the older respondents said they felt the new US president was capable of making the right decisions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as opposed to just 32% of the younger respondents.
Among the general population, 50% of the respondents expressed faith in Obama's ability to make the right decisions, while a similar rate said they were not confident in the president's abilities.
Forty-one percent of the older respondents said they believed Obama would maintain friendly relations with Israel, as opposed to 34% of the younger respondents.
A similar trend was also apparent with regards to Obama's policies towards Iran, and 51% of the respondents said the US should not enter talks with Iran, compared to 32% that expressed support of such negotiations.
A closer look at the different age groups shows that 60% of the younger respondents oppose US-Iran negotiations, compared to only 42% of the older respondents.
This year's poll also included questions regarding a possible military attack in Iran, with 66% of the respondents saying they support an Israeli strike in Iran if all efforts fail, and only 15% said they opposed such an attack.
The telephone poll, carried out by Maagar Mochot, was conducted among a representative sample of 610 Jewish Israeli adults aged 18 and above in the last week of April and was commissioned by Bar-Ilan University's BESA center and the Anti-Defamation League. The poll had a 4.5% margin of error.