Forward Thinking

44% of Jewish Israelis Say They Don't Need U.S. Cash

By Nathan Jeffay

An Israeli observes the Iron Dome system in action / Getty Images

Almost one in two Jewish Israelis think that their country could withstand a substantial decrease in American support.

In a new poll by the nonpartisan Israel Democracy Institute, conducted in the light of U.S.-Israel tensions over the end of the peace process, 44% of Jewish respondents took this view. This is remarkable in itself, given the massive funding that the U.S. provides, and the fact that the most admired defense innovation of recent years, the Iron Dome missile defense system, was made possible by the United States. But it’s particularly remarkable given the domestic political tensions.

The defense establishment is facing large budget cuts, and claiming that this will impact on its ability to perform. And so, the confidence of such a large proportion of the Israeli population at this time that loss of U.S. funding could be sustained is highly odd.

What’s more, if you look only at Israeli Jews who define themselves as right wing, this belief that Israel could dispense with U.S. funding is very dominant. Some 70% of those rightists think Israel could withstand a substantial diminution of American funding.

Yet it’s always the political right that is most emphatic that defense spending can’t decrease — and it’s no different with the current budget cuts. Unfortunately, the poll didn’t ask respondents for names and addresses of those who they reckon will fill the gaping hole that a U.S. funding cut would leave.

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POLL: How Would You Spend Jewish Billions?

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

How should Jewish donor dollars get spent?

Today, the largest share of Jewish donor dollars goes to Israel-related charities, as the Forward reported last week in the first part of our series on Jewish charity finances. (Part two of the series, published today, is here.)

Are we spending too much on Israel? Or maybe too little? Should we be allocating more to other causes, like education or health?

Below, in our interactive infographic, you can indicate where you think Jewish contributions should go. Once you have adjusted the sliders to a breakdown that looks right to you, click “submit” to let us know what you think. The Forward will publish the results of this unscientific survey sometime in the next few weeks.

Once you have submitted your breakdown, click the Facebook and Twitter buttons to show your friends how you think charitable dollars should be spent.

The breakdowns below reflect contributions reported by groups in the Forward’s database of financial data on Jewish charities. We’ve left out contributions to federations and foundations, as that money is meant to be granted to other organizations. We’ve also left out contributions to groups that didn’t fit cleanly into any category and to religious groups, as most religious groups don’t file with the IRS and as such were not included in our database.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: 26 Billion Bucks2, charity, Jewish, Israel, federation, poll

Are Israeli Right-Wingers Hungry for Peace?

By Nathan Jeffay

A pair of new polls indicates that right-wing Israelis are surprisingly open to a peace deal with the Palestinians.

The polls laid out a two-state-solution scenario to Israelis and asked them if they would back it. Among voters of Likud-Beytenu, the right-wing coaltion that is expected to win the January election, in a Smith Institute poll some 58% of respondents said that they would while 34% wouldn’t; and in a Dahaf Institute poll 57% would and 25% wouldn’t. Among voters of the further-right Jewish Home party 47% said they would support it and 45% oppose for Smith, and for Dahaf 53% were for and 43% against.

Overall, presented with the two-state solution outline, some 68% of Israelis gave their support for Smith and 67% for Dahaf. Opposing the proposed solution for Smith and Dahaf respectively were 25% and 21%.

The pair of polls was commissioned by the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, which is thought to be taken quite seriously by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other influential Israeli politicians.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: right wing, poll, peace, palestinian, likud, israel, two-state

70% of Israelis Oppose Truce

By Nathan Jeffay

getty images

After an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire kicked in last night, the Israel-Gaza border has been calm today. The residents of Southern Israel can once again go about their business without running for cover, and residents of Gaza no longer have Israeli planes overhead, striking terrorist targets but also scaring and sometimes killing or harming civilians.

However, it seems that most Israelis are against the ceasefire, or at least they were before it went in to force.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a good idea that this was the case when he confirmed the ceasefire. “Now, I realize that there are citizens who expect a harsher military action and we may very well need to do that,” he said. “But at present, the right thing for the State of Israel is to exhaust this possibility of reaching a long-term cease-fire.”

Now, pollsters are presenting evidence for this feeling. According to Shiluv Millward Brown surveys for Israel’s Channel 2, some 70% of respondents were against a ceasefire a few hours it went in to effect.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: poll, rocket, palestinian, israel, gaza

National Exit Poll: 68% Jewish Vote for Obama

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

National exit polls are now saying that 68% of Jews voted for Obama – ten points behind the president’s performance in these polls four years ago.

Once again, the night is young, and these figures could move. Few expect Obama to hold on to the 74% of the Jewish vote he won in 2008. The question is how many Jewish votes he’ll drop, and whether any of that change will have an impact on the actual outcome of the election.

Earlier in the night, exit polls report that 66% of Florida Jews voted for Obama.

These figures are likely based on a very small sample, and likely have a very high margin of error. (We’re looking at this on the CNN site, which doesn’t seem to indicate either the sample size or the margin of error.) That presumably large margin of error could explain why the same poll, in response to a different question, finds that 70% of white Jews voted for Obama.

That could mean that Black and Hispanic Jews voted overwhelmingly for Romney. Much more likely it means that this exit poll doesn’t tell us much.

In 2008, exit polls didn’t question enough Jews in Florida to break down the proportion of Florida Jewish voters who voted for Obama and McCain. Nationally, exit polls found that 74% of Jews voted for Obama in 2008.

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Mitt's Big Lead in Israel

By Nathan Jeffay

getty images

Luckily for President Barack Obama, Israel is no swing state.

A sneak preview of a poll which will be released tomorrow indicates that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has won the hearts and minds of Israelis. Asked which hopeful they preferred, some 57% of Jewish Israelis said Romney, while just 22% said President Barack Obama.

The poll, conducted by Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute, suggested that in the Arab sector, the picture was totally different. Only 15% preferred Romney while 45% wanted to see Obama return to the White House.

Interestingly, in Israel Romney even some following among those who define themselves as left-wingers. Some 30% of respondents who put themselves in this group said they preferred Romney. Among rightists and centrists the figures were 70% and 54% respectively.

Some analysts have suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could see a spillover benefit in his own election campaign if Romney wins, or suffer if Obama is reelected. But 69% of Israelis say that the US election results won’t impact the outcome of Israeli elections. Some 51% of Israeli Arabs believe they will.

Of course, voting behavior experts have often pointed out that voters’ analysis of how they make up their mind is often a world away from how they really choose their candidate. So we will have to wait until the early hours of January 23 to find out any true connection between the U.S. and Israeli elections.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: republican, presidential election, poll, mitt romney, israeli, barack obama, Democratic

What Readers Think About the Election

By Jane Eisner

Getty Images

With so much attention on the Jewish vote in this presidential election, the Forward this week asked readers to register their thoughts in three successive polls. We don’t pretend that this web-based exercise is as valid as whatever Gallup or CNN does in the field, nor is our analysis up to Nate Silver’s standards.

But even though ours was not a scientific survey — more a chance to read the minds of readers outside our usual newsroom bubble — the results pretty much confirm the conventional wisdom.

Forward readers agree far more heartily with President Obama’s foreign policy opinions than with Governor Romney’s.

They care most about the economy and health care.

And they say that Jewish issues will affect their voting decisions, but only so much.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: The Jewish Vote 2012, Poll, Mitt Romney, Barack Obama

The Forward's Election Poll: Jewish Issues

By Forward Staff

What do you think about the presidential election? We want to hear your opinions on a number of topics, so answer today’s question. We’ll have a new question waiting for you each night this week and a final roundup blog post on Friday.

In our second question, we asked readers which issues matter most to them in the upcoming election. Respondents ranked health care and the economy as the issues that were most important to them. Lagging behind in third place was Israel.

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Something for Everyone in Florida Poll

By Nathan Guttman

getty images
Mitt Romney

The American Jewish Committee’s poll of Jewish voters in Florida which was released on Thursday, had something for everyone.

Democratic Jews hailed the findings as reaffirming Obama’s strong support among Jewish voters. The Republican Jewish Coalition, at the same time, issued a statement saying the AJC poll shows “continuing erosion” in support for Obama in the Jewish community.

So how can Democrats and Republicans both be pleased by the same poll numbers?

The answer is in the baseline.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: swing states, poll, mitt romney, jewish, florida, barack obama

Florida Jews Breaking for Obama: Poll

By Nathan Guttman

getty images

Florida Jewish voters, viewed as crucial in determining the outcome of the November elections, will vote overwhelmingly for Barack Obama, according to a new survey of the state’s Jewish voters commissioned by the American Jewish Committee.

The poll conducted between September 7-9 and released Thursday, found that support for Obama among Jewish voters is down from an estimated 74%-to-78% in the 2008 elections to an expected 69% this year. Romney, according to the poll, which included 254 registered Jewish voters, will win 25% of the votes, up from an estimated 21% won by Republican candidate John McCain in 2008.

The survey has both good and bad news for Democrats. On the positive side, it suggests that Florida Jews fall in line with the national Jewish population which according to the latest Gallup tracking poll will give Obama 70% of its support with only 25% of Jewish Americans voting for Romney. Democratic strategists have long argued that Jewish support ranging from the mid 60’s to the low 70’s would be a satisfactory outcome in this elections cycle.

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