JERUSALEM (AFP) - More than 60 per cent of Israelis believe a victory for Mr Donald Trump in the US presidential election would be preferable for the Jewish state, an opinion poll indicated on Monday (Nov 2).
According to the poll, commissioned by the Jerusalem-based think-tank the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) and released on the eve of the US vote, 63 per cent of Israelis, including 70 per cent of Jews, think a Trump win is in Israel's interests.
However, only 17 per cent of Israelis surveyed said US Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would be better for Israel, while 20 per cent said they did not know.
"Presumably this pronounced preference among the Jewish public for Trump to keep serving stems to a large extent from the assessment that Biden's election would weaken US-Israeli relations, and strengthen the relationship between Washington and the Palestinians," IDI said.
Another poll in mid-October, carried out for the Tel Aviv-based i24 news TV channel, found that 63 per cent of Israelis said Mr Trump would be a more pro-Israeli president.
He has also backed normalisation deals between Israel and Arab nations.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hailed Mr Trump as Israel's strongest ever ally in the White House.
But opposition leader Yair Lapid on Monday said that whoever wins, "the next president of the United States will be a friend of Israel".
"Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden are friends of Israel, with a deep commitment to Israel and to Zionism," Mr Lapid said in a statement, while adding he had seen hostile "radical voices" growing stronger within the Democratic Party.
Several rabbis, including Rabbi Haim Druckman, an influential former member of the National Religious Party, have urged US citizens in Israel to vote for Mr Trump.
And on Monday evening, around 150 Trump supporters waving US and Israeli flags rallied in the city of Beit Shemesh south of Jerusalem, where many Israeli-Americans live.