Republicans and Democrats hold positive views of Israelis but differ greatly on their government


(JTA) — Republicans and Democrats may hold widely disparate views of Israel’s government, a new survey found, but both have positive vibes about Israelis.

The Pew Research Center study, released Wednesday, found that while 61 percent of Republicans had a favorable view of Israel’s government — led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the right-wing Likud party — that number is only 26 percent for Democrats.

Asked about views of Israeli people, most respondents regardless of party affiliation held positive views — 77 percent of those identifying as or leaning Republican and 57 percent of those identifying as or leaning Democrat.

Older people were more likely to have a positive view of the Netanyahu government: 57 percent of respondents 65 and older held a positive view, the only age group in which a majority did so. The proportion decreased with each age group, with 27 percent of those aged 18-29 having a positive view.

As for views of the Palestinian government, a majority of respondents identifying with both parties held negative views — 81 percent for Republicans and 65 percent for Democrats. Asked about their opinions on the Palestinian people, 32 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of Democrats said they viewed them favorably.

The survey, which was conducted April 1-15, had 10,523 respondents and a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percent.

In past years, Pew has asked respondents whether they sympathized more with Israel or the Palestinians. This year, the research center decided to reframe the question to reflect the fact that many respondents favored both sides or neither.

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