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Donald Trump Might Be Nicer to Israel — but Israelis Still Prefer Hillary Clinton

Israelis might be in the mood for some American tough love. A new poll indicates they want Hillary Clinton for the presidency, but think Donald Trump will push the Jewish State less on getting back to the negotiating table with Palestinians.

According to the poll, released Sunday by the Israel Democracy Institute for its “Peace Index,” Israelis prefer Clinton over Trump by a 43%-to-26% margin.

This comes despite the fact that 63% of the same respondents thought Clinton would be harder on Israel when it comes to pursuing a peace deal. Clinton is also seen far and away as the most likely candidate to win election: 55% of Israelis think she will prevail in the November contest, as opposed to 25% for Trump.

Nonetheless, Israelis appear skeptical about prospects for peace. Following Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ attendance at former Israeli president Shimon Peres’s funeral this month, only six percent of Jewish Israelis said that it was a sign to return to negotiations with the Palestinians, with 64% saying that it was not. Meanwhile, 57% of Arab Israelis said the funeral attendance indicated this was a good time to restart talks.

Republicans have in recent years been seen to be more supportive of Israel’s dominant and popular right wing than have Democrats. In the last presidential election, when Barack Obama and Mitt Romney contested the office, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was accused by some of putting his finger on the scale for Romney. This time around, the Israeli premier has been largely mum, with most politicians in the country following his lead.

But as the Institute’s head, Arye Carmon, told the Times of Israel, many Israelis are wary of Trump due to perceptions that he is erratic.

“From the standpoint of Israel, the stability and the vitality of American democracy is a major asset,” he said. “And Trump poses a major problem for American democracy.”

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at solomon@forward.com or on Twitter at @DanielJSolomon

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