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Poll: Israelis think Netanyahu understands America better than Bennett, Lapid

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 Itongadol/AJN.- Ruderman Family Foundation survey finds that a majority of Israelis reject idea of Diaspora Jews voting in Israel, but think Chief Rabbinate should recognize American Reform and Conservative movements.

The vast majority of Israelis polled in a recent study think Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has the best understanding of the complexities of the US-Israel relationship, according to a poll released by the Ruderman Family Foundation. The poll focused on the relationship between Israel and the US, and was released ahead of the third Ruderman Fellows Knesset Mission trip to New York and Boston, sponsored by the Ruderman Family Foundation and aimed at better educating MKs about the American Jewish community.

“The American Jewish community plays one of the most important roles in securing Israel\’s future, yet this vital Diaspora community is often not well understood by Israelis and their leaders,” said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “The Ruderman Fellows Knesset Mission seeks to educate Israel\’s leaders to the diversity, pluralism and changing connection of American Jews to Israel. We believe that this one of a kind program will lead to a more nuanced relationship between Israel and American Jews.”

Of the politicians listed by the poll — Netanyahu, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Disapora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett, Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog, and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman — around 44 percent felt Netanyahu had the best handle on the US-Israel relationship. Twenty-three percent of respondents said they did not know which politicians had the best understanding. Bennett and Lapid received 7.3 and 4.2 percent of respondents’ votes, respectively.

Ruderman told the Post that the main focus of the upcoming trip for MKs is to help mitigate this apparent gap in knowledge that he said many Israeli politicians display. In his long history of interacting with Israeli political figures, Ruderman said, he realized that they “didn’t understand the American Jewish community, and didn’t care.”

“I believe the role of the American Jewish community is a strategic importance to Israel, and yet when I met political figures, they didn’t care and they didn’t know much about American Jews,” he said.

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