Poll: More Israelis viewing Obama favorably, though trust is an issue
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Poll: More Israelis viewing Obama favorably, though trust is an issue

JERUSALEM (JTA) — More Israelis are seeing President Obama as friendly toward the Jewish state, but still many don’t trust the U.S. leader, according to a new poll.

The poll released Monday — two days before Obama makes his first visit to Israel as president — found that 36 percent of the 600 Jewish Israelis surveyed view Obama as friendly toward Israel, compared to the 29 percent who felt that way a year ago.

Fifty-one percent of the respondents said that Obama is neutral toward Israel, with 10 percent considering him hostile to the nation.

Some 53 percent of Israeli Jews believe Obama is balanced in his approach, 23 percent believe he is more pro-Palestinian, and 18 percent believe he is more pro-Israel.

Meanwhile, 54 percent of Jewish Israelis do not trust Obama to consider and safeguard Israel’s interests, while 45 percent do. Some 13 percent said they do not trust him at all to consider Israel’s interests. 

The poll, which was conducted March 11-14 by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, has a margin of error of 4.5 percent.

On Monday night, Israeli security forces razed six buildings in two outposts in the West Bank.

The demolitions on Monday night come more than a day before the scheduled arrival in Israel of President Obama.

The demolitions took place in Ramat Migron and Oz Zion. There were no arrests, though two settler activists threw rocks at police during the evacuation.

Settler activists claim the demolition is related to the Obama visit.