33% UK Jews neg­a­tive about Bibi

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY MARCUS DYSCH

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.

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