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Israelis divided on U.S. role in peace process, survey finds

JTA

June 27, 2012 | 9:47 am

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at an Obama Victory Fund Reception at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, June 26, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at an Obama Victory Fund Reception at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, June 26, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing

Israeli Jews have mixed feelings about the success of the role of the United States in the Middle East peace process, a survey found.

According to the seventh annual B’nai B’rith World Center Survey on Contemporary Israeli Attitudes Toward Diaspora Jewry, one-third of the respondents said the U.S. had impeded the peace process over the past few years and another third said it had promoted progress. The other third did not know whether the U.S. had impeded or promoted progress.

In addition to questions about the U.S. role in the peace process, the respondents—507 Israeli Jews aged 18 or older—were asked about other issues, including how to promote relations between Israel and the Diaspora, as well as whether American Jews should support a boycott of Israeli settlements.

The survey found that 76 percent of Israelis disagreed with a boycott of settlements, while 13 percent supported such a boycott. 

Some 56 percent of respondents support creating a “Jewish Parliament” that would represent Diaspora Jews, with 23 percent opposing the idea. Eighteen percent would give the body the right to propose legislation to the Knesset and 25 percent would give it mandatory consultative status, while 40 percent favor the body having only voluntary consultative status.

Some 63 percent of respondents said they opposed allowing Diaspora Jews to elect “a few” Knesset members to represent their interests, with 21 percent supporting the idea

Israelis also strongly opposed allowing citizens living outside of Israel to elect Knesset members: 51 percent were against the idea and 29 percent supported it.

B’nai B’rith World Center director Alan Schneider emphasized that the survey showed a connection between Israelis and Diaspora Jews.

“This survey has demonstrated the enduring connection between Israelis and Diaspora Jews,” Schneider said in a statement. “Clearly, Israelis are committed to finding a vehicle for including and expanding the opinions and participation of Diaspora Jews in Israel.”

The survey was conducted by KEEVOON Research on June 20; it has a margin of error of 4.5 percent.

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