JERUSALEM — US President Barack Obama’s speech to the United Nations last week has sent his popularity among formerly sceptical Israelis soaring, according to a poll published on Wednesday.
The poll, in the English-language Jerusalem Post newspaper, showed 56 percent of respondents consider the Obama administration’s policies more beneficial to Israel than to the Palestinians.
Just 19 percent said Obama’s policies favoured the Palestinians, while 27 percent called them neutral.
The survey, conducted by Keevoon Research, surveyed 506 Hebrew-speaking adults and had a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points, the Post said.
“President Obama?s speech at the UN had a very big impact on Israelis, ” it quoted Keevoon director Mitchell Barak as saying.
“He clearly stated support for key elements of the Israeli position while avoiding articulating some of the controversial US positions that divide Israelis. For Israelis, his speech at the UN was as much about what he didn?t say as it was significant for what he did say.”
In his address to the General Assembly, Obama reiterated his opposition to the Palestinians’ attempt to win UN membership, saying there was no “shortcut” to peace.
“Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the UN — if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now,” he said.
Obama’s speech, which one Israeli newspaper characterised as “Zionist,” included references to Israel’s hostile neighbours, to suicide bombs on its buses and to the trauma of the Holocaust.
But it made no mention of Israeli settlement building on land the Palestinians want for a future state.
The Post said that a May poll showed only 12 percent of Israeli Jews found Obama’s policies more pro-Israel and 40 percent believed they were tilted toward the Palestinians.
It said however that the two polls could not be directly compared as they were carried out by different companies using different methods.