US, Biden more popular in Israel than almost anywhere else, poll shows

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Israelis view the United States more favorably than citizens of almost any other country in the world, according to a Pew research center survey published Tuesday.

Eight-seven percent of Israelis hold a positive view of the US, second only to Poland where the favorability rating stood at 93%. Of the 23 countries surveyed, perception of the US was lowest in Hungary, where just 44% said they view the US positively.

The figure for Israelis was four percent higher than the year before, marking the highest ratings Israelis have given the US since 2000.

Israelis also view US President Joe Biden more favorably than in many other places.

Sixty-eight percent of Israelis said they have confidence in the president to do the right thing in world affairs — an eight-point bump from last year. Only in Poland (83%), Sweden (76%), Kenya (76%) and Nigeria (71%) were people more likely to view Biden positively. Israelis’ satisfaction with Biden is 14 percentage points higher than the median.

The support for Biden stands out; his administration has not shied away from criticizing the Israeli government over the latter’s effort to overhaul the judiciary, expansion of settlements, treatment of the Palestinians and failure to crack down on settler violence. Biden has also held off on inviting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House, seen in Israel as a major snub.

Former president Donald Trump, who recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the US embassy there, was also more popular in Israel than most of the rest of the world, and boasted of his favorability ratings among Israelis, which hit a high of 71% in 2019. Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama received the same amount of support in 2014, but that figure dropped to 49% in both 2011 and 2015.

President Joe Biden poses for a selfie during the celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month in the East Room of the White House, Tuesday, May 16, 2023, in Washington. (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Israelis were in lockstep with other countries surveyed on whether the US interferes in their affairs. Eighty-eight percent of Israelis responded that they think the US is meddling, while 74% said that the US contributes to world peace and stability.

A median of 50% across 23 nations surveyed said both that the US interferes in the affairs of other countries and that it contributes to peace and stability around the world.

Pew surveyed 1,001 Israelis face-to-face from March 15 to April 24 for the poll released Tuesday. The margin of error was 4.2%.

The total number of adults surveyed in all 23 countries was 27,285.

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