Poll: American Jews Disapprove of Jerusalem, Trump, Settlements, and the Jewishness of the State

Jewish Press

June 10, 2018


The political and social-religious divide between Israeli and American Jews has widened considerably according to a poll published by the American Jewish Committee.

Moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem
Just 46 percent of American Jews supported U.S. President Donald Trump’s relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, while 47 percent opposed the move.

Within Israel, an overwhelming 85 percent of Israeli Jews supported the embassy’s move to Jerusalem, while only 7 percent disapproved.

US-Israel Relations
Israeli Jews have a favorable view of Trump, with 77 percent approving of his handling of U.S.-Israel relations and only 10 percent disapproving. By contrast, within the United States, 57 percent of American Jews approve of his handling of U.S.-Israel relations and 34 percent disapproving.

President Trump
Overall, 71 percent of American Jews disapprove of President Trump, while only 26 percent have a positive opinion of the President. The figure is has improved since the last poll, in which 77 percent disapproved and 21 percent approved of the President.

Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria
With regards to settlements in Israel, 54 percent of Israelis said that no Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria should be dismantled to make way for a new Palestinian state, whereas only 35 percent of American Jews said the same.

Thirty-five percent of Israelis said that some communities should be razed, whereas 44 percent of American Jews agreed.

Only four percent of Israeli Jews said all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria should be dismantled, whereas a more substantial 15 percent of American Jews agreed.

Religion in Israel
On the social-religious issue of weddings in Israel, 80 percent of American Jews said a non-Orthodox rabbi should be able to officiate at weddings, whereas within Israel, only 49 percent shared that view.

Similarly, 81 percent of American Jews expressed support for civil marriage in Israel, whereas just 55 percent of Israelis support civil marriage.

Intervening in the Peace Process
53% of American Jews feel it is appropriate for them to intervene and have a say in Israeli policy regarding the peace process and Israeli security. 68% of Israelis do not accept that American Jews should have a say on Israeli security issues or peace negotiations.

Religious Quality of Life
43% of American Jews think that increasing the non-Orthodox movements in Israel would improve the quality of Jewish life in Israel. 74% of Israelis disagree.

No Longer One Big Happy Family
On the issue of brotherhood between the world’s two largest Jewish communities, only 12 percent of American Jews considered Israeli Jews to be their “siblings.” A slightly higher 28 percent of Israeli Jews considered American Jews their “siblings.”

On the positive side, two-thirds of American Jews still consider Israeli Jews to be part of the family. 78% of Israeli Jews consider American Jews to be part of the family.

The survey was conducted in April and May, and based on a representative sample of 1,000 Israeli Jews and 1,001 American Jews.

David Harris, the CEO of AJC noted that the the more observant one is on the religious spectrum, the stronger one’s Jewish identity and attachment to Israel. Conversely, the more an American Jew identified with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, the more weakly they identified with the Jewish People.

The breakdown by religious observance, by country: 

US Jews:
Ultra-Orthodox: 6%
Modern Orthodox: 5%
Conservative: 14%
Reform: 29%
Reconstructionist: 3%
Secular: 16%
Other: 25%

Israeli Jews:
Ultra-Orthodox: 10%
Modern Orthodox (National-Religious): 11%
Conservative: 0% (less than 1%)
Religious-Traditional: 17%
Not that Religious-Traditional: 21%
Reform: 1%
Reconstruction: 0%
Secular: 37%
Other: 2%