Offbeat Israel: Has Kiryat Gat Adopted the Iranian Flag?

If there was an Israeli “Obama Girl,” chances are that she would be approaching middle age.

The American president may have been a big hit with young Americans, but in Israel, it’s apparently the young who are the most skeptical about him.

Bar Ilan University, together with the Anti-Defamation League, have polled Israelis on their attitudes towards Obama, and presented results in two categories: those under 42, and those over.

Among the older respondents, 41% said they felt the new U.S. president was capable of making the right decisions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the figure among younger respondents was just 32%. The pattern was similar when people were asked whether they believed President Obama would maintain friendly relations with Israel. Among older respondents, 41% said yes; among younger respondents, the figure was 34%. Obama’s policy on Iran also gets more approval among older Israelis. Some 60% of younger Israelis are against him talking to Iran, whereas 42% of younger respondents share that position.

Aside from the age factor, the survey provided interesting findings about the way Obama is viewed. Back in 2007, Bar Ilan research found that 73% of Israelis considered the U.S. president — then George W. Bush — friendly to Israel; the figure today for Obama was 38%.

The poll also asked people if they are in favor of an Israeli strike on Iran if that country’s nuclear program is not halted. Two-thirds of Israelis were; 15% were against such a strike.

On a lighter note: What do you think this flag looks like? It’s actually the municipal flag of the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Gat, but the resemblance to the Iranian flag isn’t lost on the city’s officials and residents.

At a council meeting yesterday, one councilman showed the Iranian flag and said it looks too similar to the municipal flag. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is unlikely to change his, even though Kiryat Gat’s came along first (56 years ago; Iran’s was chosen only after the Islamic Revolution of 1979). So the councilman said his city should come up with something new; some of his colleagues, however, gave him short shrift — saying that the city shouldn’t surrender its heritage just because of Iran’s taste in colors.  

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