Poll indicates Israelis favor Trump over Biden 54% – 21% in upcoming US vote

Majority prefer Republican incumbent seen as very pro-Israel; among right-wingers, 77% prefer Trump, compared to 7% who back Biden; left-wingers back Biden 45-22%

An Israeli supporter of US President Donald Trump waves a campaign flag at a rally for his re-election, on a promenade overlooking Jerusalem, October 27, 2020. (Maya Alleruzzo/AP)
An Israeli supporter of US President Donald Trump waves a campaign flag at a rally for his re-election, on a promenade overlooking Jerusalem, October 27, 2020. (Maya Alleruzzo/AP)

A majority of Israelis would prefer US President Donald Trump to win re-election next week over his Democratic challenger Joe Biden, according to a poll released Friday.

Fifty-four percent of Israelis favor Trump, compared to 21% who favor Biden, the Channel 12 poll indicated. The other 25% said they did not know.

Among right-wing voters, the disparity was far wider though, with 77% preferring the Republican incumbent and just seven percent favoring Biden. Among those identifying as left-wing, 45% percent preferred Biden compared to 22% who support Trump.

No methodology or margin of error was immediately provided by Channel 12 for the survey.

Polls ahead of the 2016 elections indicated Israelis preferred Hillary Clinton to Trump, with Trump preferred among American-Israelis.

Trump has been viewed by many as one of the most pro-Israel US presidents ever.

The Trump administration has used the final months of the campaign to further seek support from pro-Israel Jewish and Evangelical Republican voters. In just this past week, the State Department updated its policy to allow US citizens born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their country of birth on passports and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman signed an agreement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extending US scientific cooperation to apply as well in the West Bank — a move viewed by many as a first step toward American recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the settlements.

US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu as they arrive at the White House, Monday, March 5, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Trump administration has also sought to expand the list of Arab and Muslim-majority countries to normalize relations with Israel in the final months of its current term. Last Friday, Sudan agreed to become the third country to do so in recent months. Sudan followed the lead of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain after weeks of pressure from Washington, which conditioned removing Khartoum from its blacklist of state terror sponsors on Sudan making peace with the Jewish state.

These moves follow decisions by the Trump administration to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, transfer the US embassy there, recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, scrap previous policy deeming settlements to be illegal, release a peace plan widely deemed to be the most favorable to Israel yet, take a far more combative approach toward the Palestinians than previous administrations and pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, which the Netanyahu government opposed aggressively.

On the other hand, Trump’s critics point out that he has turned the issue of Israel into a political football when for decades the bipartisan nature of support for the Jewish state had been touted as something that kept Israel more secure. Polls of Jewish voters in the US show that at least two-thirds prefer Biden over Trump, many of whom credit the president for the rise in white nationalism in the US, which has seen Jews targeted in record numbers of anti-Semitic attacks.

Moreover, these more dovish voters are less supportive of Israeli presence in the West Bank and tend to oppose moves the Trump administration has taken to solidify the Israeli presence there at the expense of efforts to reach a two-state solution.

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