33% UK Jews negative about Bibi
ONE IN three British Jews believe Benjamin Netanyahu is taking Israel in the wrong direction, an exclusive JC poll reveals today.
While a large proportion of the community — 41 per cent — believe the Israeli Prime Minister is having a positive impact, 33 per cent adopt the opposite view.
Support for Mr Netanyahu is considerably higher in Manchester than London. Almost half of the Manchester-based community — 46 per cent — said that Israel was heading in the right direction, eight per cent more than their London-based counterparts.
The poll also asked how optimistic or pessimistic community members were about the future of Jews in the UK.
Almost half, 47 per cent, said they felt either “very optimistic” or “quite optimistic”.
Only 23 per cent felt negatively about the community’s prospects, responding either “quite pessimistic” or “very pessimistic”.
Slightly more than a quarter of British Jews — 26 per cent — felt “neither optimistic nor pessimistic”. Only two per cent said they “don’t know”.
There was more positivity among
northern Jews, with almost 53 per cent saying they were optimistic in Manchester. In London the figure was 47 per cent.
On Mr Netanyahu, the belief that he was taking Israel in the right direction came as a surprise to Yachad, the propeace advocacy group.
A spokesman for Yachad said that while it believed Israel was making positive advances “in so many ways”, it was “alarmed” by a number of the Netanyahu government’s policies which “make it harder to take the steps necessary to reach a political resolution to the conflict with the Palestinians”.
The spokesman added: “In the long run, most Israeli security experts — and, according to the most recent in-depth study of British Jewish attitudes towards Israel, most British Jews — agree that the Israeli government’s priority should be peace with the Palestinians.
“There is still time for Prime Minister Netanyahu to recommit his current government to ending the conflict. Ultimately, that is how the history books will judge him.”
But Paul Charney, chairman of the Zionist Federation, said the poll results were “not surprising”.
“Mr Netanyahu is the second-longest serving Israeli Prime Minister. He has had a ubiquitous presence on the world stage for some time now, meaning that British Jews have a real sense of familiarity and respect for him. In an unsafe world of terror, antisemitism and uncertainty, a strong, vocal Israeli leader is necessary and revered.”
Mr Charney said the “bleak view” taken by some of actions in the Knesset, Israeli media and society were “highly exaggerated”.
“Many countries now look to Israel for assistance in science, technology, agriculture, water management and medicine, as well as defence, security and intelligence. In boxing above its weight, Israel is unparalleled,” he concluded.
Survation polled a representative sample of 515 British Jews for the JC last month.