Israel is Americans’ Fifth Favorite Place


yerushalayimWith all due respect to Washington’s special relationship and shared values with Israel, Americans much prefer their neighbor to the north. According to a new Gallup poll released over the weekend, Israel ranks fifth among the countries viewed most favorably by Americans, behind Canada, Great Britain, Germany and Japan.

A paltry 10 percent of Americans said they had a favorable view of Iran, which came in last place among a list of 20 nations. The survey was conducted among a random sampling of 1,025 respondents.

Americans’ perception of the Palestinian Authority has vacillated over the course of the last decade. In 2005, 27 percent of Americans held a favorable view, but that number dropped to 11 percent following Hamas’ election victory in 2006.

In 2009, the PA’s favorable rating recovered to 15 percent, and this year it increased further, to 20 percent. However, 70 percent of Americans still said they held an unfavorable view of the PA.

With regard to the foreign countries most often mentioned in the news, American public opinion did not significantly change with the Obama administration’s assumption of power.

Canada remains Americans’ favorite country, with an approval rating of 90 percent. That compares to approval ratings of 87 percent for Britain, 80 percent for Germany, 77 percent for Japan and 67 percent for Israel.

The poll also revealed the generational and ideological gaps that affect Americans’ views on foreign policy. According to Gallup, most countries were viewed more favorably by Americans aged 18 to 34 than by those aged 55 and older.

Israel is the only country that received more favorable views from Republicans, Gallup said. The PA, in contrast, received more support from Democrats.

The nations with the lowest favorability ratings in the poll included Afghanistan (18 percent), the PA (20 percent), Yemen (21 percent), Iraq (23 percent), Pakistan (23 percent), Cuba (29 percent) and Saudi Arabia (35 percent).

Yemen was included in the survey for the first time after the suspect in the Christmas Day attack against a Detroit-bound airliner was linked to a Yemen-based terrorist group linked with Al-Qaida.

Mexico garnered a favorable rating of only 49 percent, a two-point drop that is most likely attributable to the drug-fueled gang wars that are plaguing America’s neighbor to the south. This is the first time since 1993 that less than 50 percent of Americans have seen Mexico in a positive light.

{Haaretz/Yair Israel}