Poll: 70% of Americans see Israel as US friend

By Haaretz Service – 13 Aug 2009

More than two-third of Americans regard Israel as an ally despite recent diplomatic tensions, a nationwide survey conducted by the U.S. polling firm Rasmussen Reports has revealed.

The 70 percent who view Israel as America’s friend marks twice the number of respondents who view Egypt as an ally, though that Middle Eastern country has been polled as the most highly regarded Islamic country among Americans.

According to the poll, 81 percent of U.S. voters agree that Palestinian Authority leaders must recognize Israel’s right to exist as part of any future Middle Eastern peace agreement.

As part of the telephone survey, a representative number of adults were asked to evaluate America’s relations with key Middle Eastern countries. Israel is by far considered the closest friend among respondents.

Nevertheless, 8 percent of Americans polled said that Israel is an enemy of the U.S., while 16 percent placed it somewhere between ally and enemy.

Following Egypt – which 39 percent see as an ally – Saudi Arabia is the American’s second favorite of Islamic countries, with 23 percent of respondents considering it an ally. Even so, 25 percent see Saudi Arabia as an enemy, and nearly half put it somewhere in between.

According to respondents, Iran is the greatest risk to U.S. national security. Some 70 percent regard the Islamic republic an enemy of the U.S. Merely 5 percent think of Iran as an ally, and 20 percent characterize it as somewhere in between. In comparison, 41 and 40 percent respectively view Iraq and Afghanistan as enemies of the United States.

In addition, Rasmussen Reports asked voters to assess America’s relationship with the Muslim world. 21 percent say the relationship will have improved in a year from now, whereas 25 percent believe it will get worse. 44 percent think the relationship will be more or less the same a year from now.

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