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More Israelis believe Romney cares more

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Twice as many Jewish Israelis believe that Mitt Romney cares more about Israel’s interests than feel that way about President Obama, according to a newly released poll.

The Israel Democracy Institute/Tel Aviv University poll found that 40 percent of Israeli Jews believe that, of the two candidates, Romney “assigns more importance to defending Israel’s national interests” versus almost 19 percent for Obama. Another 10 percent said that both care to the same extent, while remainder of respondents said they did not know or declined to answer.

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The L.A. Jewish Journal’s Shmuel Rosner writes that Mitt Romney’s edge is nothing new. (But Rosner’s own panel of Israeli experts is now leaning ever-so-slightly toward preferring Obama on Israel issues.)

The Weekly Standard’s Daniel Halper suggests that the poll’s results pull the rug out from under the video released yesterday by the National Jewish Democratic Council featuring average Israelis in Sderot and Jerusalem praising President Obama. (The data on Israeli feelings toward President Obama is somewhat mixed: Polls have shows a marked improvement in Obama’s image among Israelis, with a majority viewing him favorably, even as opinion remains divided regarding his Middle East policies.)

The bulk of the IDI/TAU poll focused on Israelis views of the Iran crisis. Among other questions it asked about assurances from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that sanctions are starting to have an effect and that “Iran will never have nuclear weapons.” Some 22 percent of Israelis said they thought (“I’m sure it can” or “I think it can”) that Israel could rely on Panetta’s assurances, while 35 percent (“I think it can’t”) felt Israel could not.

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