- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 19, 2013

President Obama may capture the ears of Israelis when he makes his first trip to the nation, beginning Wednesday. But he sure has a long way to go to capture their hearts.

A new poll finds 36 percent of the 500 Israelis who were surveyed believe the president is more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israel, The Jerusalem Post reports. By comparison, 26 percent said Mr. Obama was more pro-israel than pro-Palestinian.

Mr. Obama’s ratings with the Israeli people have fluctuated over the years, hitting a high for favor following September 11 terrorist attacks. That’s when 54 percent of Israelis believed he was pro-Israel, The Jerusalem Post reports. Most other surveys have painted the president’s pro-Israel mindset in a poor light: In April 2012, for example, only 24 percent of survey respondents said Mr. Obama was pro-Israel. In October 2012, only 18 percent found him pro-Israel.

As for the chances of Mr. Obama bringing to fruition a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians, fully 80 percent said no way.

The White House has stated several times that Mr. Obama’s trip wasn’t focused on brokering a grand peace deal. Rather, it is “a chance to connect with the Israeli people,” Mr. Obama said, as quoted by The Jerusalem Post.

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