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Sharp decline in Obama's popularity in Israel

March 22, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Fewer than 70 per cent of Jews in Israel are confident that US President Barack Obama is able to protect their national interests, US Time magazine revealed on Friday. This sharp decline comes less than a year after he visited Israel and told the Israelis, in Hebrew, that they “are not alone”.

The American magazine cited the results of another poll conducted by The Times of Israel on January 26 showing that one in five Israeli Jews was confident that Obama is able to prevent Iran’s ownership of nuclear weapons as he has pledged. However, only one in three Israelis now has a favourable opinion of Obama, Time claimed.

A Pew Poll conducted last May, in the wake of Obama’s visit to Israel, showed that 61 per cent of Israelis were confident about Obama. Time puts the change down to the interim deal with Iran over the nuclear issue, described by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “historical mistake”, and America’s marathon efforts to broker a peace deal between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is responsible for these efforts, has been subjected to a number of offensive comments made by Israeli officials recently.

Last month, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon described Kerry as “obsessive and messianic” and was obliged to issue a public apology. Kerry was also was rebuked by Israeli officials when he warned about the possible fallout from the lack of success in the peace talks.