NEW YORK (Jan. 5)
Despite the heated debate over the sale of AWACS planes to Saudi Arabia and despite the U.S. Administration’s inference that Premier Menachem Begin of Israel was trying to interfere with U.S. foreign policy, the American public maintains its strong support of Israel, according to a Gallup poll just released.
The survey, based on more than 1,500 interviews conducted during the last week in November, was commissioned by the American Jewish Committee as part of its ongoing study of American attitudes toward Jews, Judaism, and Israel.
In response to a question about countries that constitute a vital interest for the United States, 81 percent of the respondents named Israel. This was an increase of three percent over responses in a similar survey conducted in 1978.
Given the hypothetical situation of war breaking out between Israel and one or more of her Arab neighbors, only about one in eight of those surveyed would sympathize with Israel’s opponent. However, the survey revealed that a significant number of Americans, more than one in three, could not or would not choose either side.
Commenting on the findings, Bertram Gold, AJCommittee’s executive vice president, expressed gratification that “despite the Administration’s tilt toward Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, the American public remains committed to our only true ally in the Middle East.”