WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump’s popularity among Israelis has significantly grown over the past year and is much higher than in most European countries, according to a poll released Monday by the Pew Institute. The two countries where Trump has the highest support are Israel and the Philippines.
The researchers interviewed people in 25 countries including all of America’s key allies. The poll shows historically low support for Trump among leading U.S. allies such as Germany, Britain, Japan, Australia and Canada.
But it shows very high support among Israelis following policy moves over the past year such as the transfer of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv and the American withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal.
According to the poll, 69 percent of Israelis expressed confidence in Trump as president, compared with 57 percent who did so in last year’s survey. Trump had a higher confidence rating only in the Philippines, at 78 percent.
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In Britain, only 28 percent said they had confidence in Trump, while in France and Germany the numbers were below 10 percent. Throughout his eight years in office, Barack Obama enjoyed a confidence rating topping 60 percent in these countries.
In Japan, while 78 percent of respondents expressed confidence in Obama by the time he left office, only 30 percent expressed confidence in Trump this year. That number, however, is better than Trump's performance last year: 24 percent.
The pollsters highlight Israel as an exception. In 2016, 49 percent of Israelis said they had confidence in Obama, compared with Trump's 69-percent performance today.
But Obama’s high mark during his presidency among Israelis, in 2014, was higher than Trump’s today. Back then, a year before Obama clashed with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the Iranian nuclear deal, 71 percent of Israeli respondents had confidence in Obama. His number dropped over the next two years while the Iran deal was negotiated and signed.
Trump’s current figure is also lower than the high mark of George W. Bush among Israelis. Back in 2003, as the United States was entering the Iraq War, 83 percent of Israeli respondents had confidence in Bush. His numbers then deteriorated, though when he left the White House more than 50 percent of Israelis still had confidence in him.
The pollsters also noted that in this year’s poll, Israelis “are more likely than any other public surveyed to say the U.S. is doing more to address global problems than a few years ago.” They added that “Israel tops the list in terms of the share of the public – 79 percent – saying that relations with the U.S. have improved in the past year.”
The poll is consistent with previous surveys conducted over the past year. A survey by the University of Maryland earlier this year showed that almost 60 percent of Israeli Jews had a favorable opinion of Trump, with only 19 percent expressing a negative opinion.