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Plurality of Israeli Jews: ‘Pro-Israel’ means pro-gov’t

WASHINGTON (JTA) — More than half of Israeli Jews believe that the term "pro-Israel" should apply only to Jewish groups that back the policies of the current Israeli government, a poll showed.

Asked to choose between one of two statements, 54 percent of respondents — statistically half — said that "Jewish organizations that advocate before foreign governments and identify themselves as pro-Israel should always support the policies of the current Israeli government," according to the survey published Tuesday.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents agreed with the other statement, that such organizations should "be free to openly oppose the policies of the current Israeli government."

A large majority, 65 percent to 12 percent, agreed that "American Jews should criticize President Obama’s policy towards Israel" as opposed to supporting it.

The survey, commissioned by B’nai B’rith’s Jerusalem-based World Center and carried out by Keevoon, reached 500 Jewish adult Israelis June 1-4. The margin of error was 4.5 percent. 

The poll also found that a majority — 55 percent to 36 percent — agreed that a two-state solution is "essential to Israel’s survival as a national home of the Jewish people as a vibrant democracy." A plurality, 48 percent to 41 percent, agreed that "it is essential that the European Union, along with the United States, put pressure on both parties and help them achieve a reasonable and rapid solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Both statements were drawn from the manifesto of JCall, a new European pro-Israel group that presses for a two-state solution and rejects hewing only to the current Israeli government line.

A plurality — 49 percent to 37 percent — disagreed, however, with JCall’s statement that the settlements pose a "danger" to Israel and are "morally and politically wrong."

A plurality, 47 percent  to 34 percent, also disagreed with Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky’s plan to switch the agency’s emphasis from aliyah to building Jewish identity in the Diaspora.

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