Gallup Poll: Americans Like Israel Best in Mideast

YERUSHALAYIM -

Support for Israel among U.S. citizens is at a 23-year high of 72%, according to a new poll conducted by Gallup.

Israel’s neighbors did not provide tough competition. Israel had the highest “favorable” rating in the region by far, with Egypt in a distant second place with 45% support. Egypt was followed by Saudi Arabia, which 35% of Americans viewed favorably.

The Palestinian Authority enjoyed a “favorable” rating of just 19%, while Iran’s rating was 12%.

The poll found an unusually pronounced generational difference regarding opinions of Israel, with older respondents most likely to have a favorable view of Israel. Among those aged 55 and older, 81% were favorable, whereas in the 18-34 age bracket, support was at 64%.

Support for the Palestinian Authority stood at 16% among respondents aged 55 and above, and at 24% among those aged 18-34.

The results indicate a trend that is likely to have a significant impact on President Obama’s treatment of Israel, former Israeli Ambassador to America Yoram Ettinger told Arutz Sheva.

Obama’s and Secretary of State John Kerry’s increased pressure on Israel has caused upset, and Obama’s talk of creating a PA state has largely met with apathy, according to Ettinger.

With elections for the Congress and Senate in late 2014, Obama is likely to back down in the face of strong public support for Israel, Ettinger said.

American support for Israel has grown in recent years, as Americans have learned to understand the challenges the country is facing, Ettinger said. A combination of anti-American sentiment in the Arab world, the threat of Islamist terrorism within the United States and cooperation between Israel and the U.S. on economic and defense-related issues has improved Israel’s image despite disagreements regarding Israeli-PA talks, he said.