Israel's Vote Goes to the GOP: Most Israelis see the midterms through the prism of their own geopolitical interests.

Author:Rosner, Shmuel
Position:OPINION
 
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Israelis would find this column boring. They aren't interested in American mid-term elections, and they have a point. There are few familiar faces in the drama, few specific races of great consequence for Israel, a lot of messy confusion and a lot of details to consider as this complicated part of the American political system moves forward. Do we (namely, most Israelis, this writer excluded) really care who wins New York's 14th Congressional District, and whether Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez makes it to the great chamber? We don't.

But as Israelis, we care about the big picture--or maybe it's the small picture, depending on your point of view. The Israel picture, while barely a trifle to most Americans, is almost everything to us. We consider only one question: Will the next Congress be supportive of Israel, and of President Donald Trump's support for Israel? And if that question sounds odd to most American Jews, well, that's an old story, as old as the story of U.S.-Israel relations.

Note that asking the question this way essentially gives an answer to what Israel wants. It wants a Congress supportive of what it sees as Trump's support for Israel. It knows that only one party can guarantee such an outcome--and that this will not be the Democratic Party. So yes, Israel would like the GOP to retain its majority and is somewhat nervous about the other, more likely, option.

Israeli nervousness is simple to justify if you use poll numbers. More Democrats than Republicans openly express views highly critical of Israel. In a recent Pew Research Center poll, 27 percent of Democrats "sympathize with" Israel compared to 79 percent of Republicans. More Democrats still refuse to acknowledge that the Iran deal, to which they gave their support, was a misguided move by the Obama administration. Many Democrats feel that the U.S. should bestow tough love on Israel--a politically acceptable code term for less love. Almost half of all Democratic voters (46 percent) feel that the current president "is favoring Israel too much." It seems as if many Democrats subconsciously mesh President Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into a unified character whom they dislike. According to Pew, "Nearly three times as many Republicans (52 percent) as Democrats (18 percent) have favorable impressions of Israel's leader." Many Democrats, Israelis infer from this, must have a gut feeling that goes as follows: Trumpism is what we battle, Israel is fond of Trump, hence...

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