Americans who see Israel as top ally highlight defense ties, shared values

In new poll on Americans’ trending perceptions of alliances and rivalries, more Republicans and Independents (79%) than Democrats name Israel as the top US ally

Illustrative: American and Israeli sailors walk through the Israeli Navy's base in Eilat during a US-led naval exercise, IMX, in February 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
Illustrative: American and Israeli sailors walk through the Israeli Navy's base in Eilat during a US-led naval exercise, IMX, in February 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Americans who view Israel as the top US ally highlighted the countries’ shared values and defense ties in a new Pew Research Center Poll published Thursday.

According to the poll, which focused on Americans’ trending perceptions of US allies and rivals, 94 percent of respondents said the Israel-US security and defense relationship is a crucial part of the countries’ alliance. Some 79% also said the two countries’ shared values are crucial, and 68% cited economic ties as very important.

But while a majority of respondents agreed the US’ security ties with Israel were the most important aspect of the relations between Jerusalem and Washington, Israel ranked third among respondents as the top US ally by a large margin.

Israel came after the UK in the top spot (22% of respondents see the UK as the US’s top ally) and Canada (6%), according to the survey. Four percent of respondents said Israel was the top US ally. Six percent said “no country”, while 3% said Germany, followed by China (2%), Japan (2%). The EU, France, Mexico, and Russia were each named as the US top ally by 1% of respondents. The remaining panelists, 48%, said they did not know or refused to answer.

At the same time, more Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents (79%) named Israel as the top US ally than Democrats. In addition, older Americans are much more likely than younger Americans to see both the UK and Israel as America’s top allies.

The survey found that Americans view China as the leading threat to the US, followed by Russia, North Korea, and the US itself. No other countries are viewed as a significant danger.

The survey comes as the Israeli government seeks to overhaul the judicial system, agitating Washington and alarming the US Jewish community, which have both long said the two countries’ shared democratic values were an essential part of their relationship.

The 11,004 panelists included in the survey were polled last December. The poll has a margin of error of 1.4%, according to the Pew Research Center.

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