JERUSALEM – In a new post-election survey commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation, 91 percent of Israelis believe President-elect Joe Biden will support Israel.
The survey was based on responses by 1,000 Israeli adults and was conducted under the supervision of Tel Aviv University Professor Camille Fuchs. Further, 71 percent reported being satisfied with the U.S. election results, including a combined 32 percent to a “very large” or “large” extent and 15 percent to a “low” extent; 20 percent were “not satisfied at all.”
The survey was released during a Nov. 16 panel discussion in the Knesset Caucus for U.S.-Israel Relations, cohosted by the caucus’ co-chairs, Knesset members Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid) and Keren Barak (Likud), as well as the Ruderman Family Foundation, which helped establish the Knesset Caucus in 2013.
Among the speakers at the caucus event was former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, a Republican who warned that despite Biden’s affection for Israel, the relationship between Israel and the United States will be more fraught, especially when compared to the Trump administration.
Also speaking on the panel were the Foundation’s Executive Director, Shira Ruderman, and Jodi Rudoren, editor in chief of The Forward and former Jerusalem bureau chief at The New York Times.
Rudoren suggested that Trump’s pro-Israel policy may actually harm Israel’s strategic interests in the long run.
“A lot of analysts around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict talk about that, throughout history, progress has not come from places of comfort, but from places of discomfort and fear, and that there are many ways in which President Trump’s particularly close friendship to Israel removed any pressure or tension,” Rudoren said. “The core challenge to Israel’s ongoing survival as a Jewish and democratic state has not moved forward in the Trump era and many people believe has moved backwards.”
As for the survey findings, approximately half (49 percent) of Israelis believe the tenure of President-elect Biden will keep Israel’s relations with American Jewry “the same.” Eighteen percent of respondents said Biden’s election will strengthen Israeli relations with American Jews and 23 percent said the onset of the new U.S. administration will weaken that relationship. In addition, 73 percent expressed some degree of concern with the “continued distancing between Israel and American Jews” given the discrepancy between the Israeli government and popular support for President Doanld Trump and American Jewish support for Biden.
“Our survey results reflect that the Israeli people still overwhelmingly believe in the enduring power of the U.S.-Israel relationship regardless of the occupant in the White House,” said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “The divisiveness of the U.S. election is also evident inside of the Jewish community, both in Israel and the United States. It will continue to be a top communal priority to bridge these divisions for the next four years and beyond.”
In advance of this month’s election, the Ruderman Family Foundation had published a position paper together with award-winning American presidential historian Gil Troy, titled “The Jewish Vote 2020: More Empowered Than Powerful,” which described the 2020 race as a “watershed seemingly dividing pro-Trump Israeli Jews from anti-Trump American Jews.”
“Talk of this split emphasizes the growing perception that most American Jews are becoming more distant from Israel – whereas, in fact, they remain pro-Israel,” the paper states. “It highlights the widespread impression among some Jews and non-Jews that American Jews are single-issue voters, always voting for the most pro-Israel candidate – whereas in the voting booth most American Jews are actually more pro-choice and anti-Trump than pro-Israel.”