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Survey: Israelis Split over U.S. Role in Reaching Peace

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Photo Credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash 90

According to the 2012 B’nai B’rith World Center Survey on Contemporary Israeli Attitudes Toward Diaspora Jewry, 34 percent of respondents said the U.S. has impeded the peace process over the past few years, 33 percent said it has promoted progress, and 33 percent said they 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 relations between Israel and Diaspora Jewry, global anti-Semitism, and recent calls American Jews should support a boycott of Israeli settlements.

An overwhelming 80 percent of respondents support using taxes to fund Diaspora Jewish youth visiting Israel, with fifteen percent opposing.

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

But Israelis are guarded about granting direct political access to those living beyond its borders: 51 percent strongly oppose allowing citizens residing outside of Israel to elect Knesset member, while 29 percent support it. An even greater number (63 percent) oppose allowing Diaspora Jews to elect “a few” Knesset members to represent their interests, although 21 percent support the idea.

Turning to global anti-Semitism, 51 percent of respondents said that “Encouraging Aliya” is the best government response to anti-Semitism.

Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority of Israelis (76 percent), disagree with calls on American Jews to “boycott the settlements,” while thirteen percent supported such a boycott.

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.

JTA Contributed to this report.

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