…most of them do, anyhow. Polls show that 70% of Israelis would vote for McCain if they were eligible to vote in the U.S. election.
And some of them are. There are an estimated 40,000 Americans residing in Israel who are eligible to cast absentee ballots, and many of them will be voting in swing states. The chairman of Republicans Abroad in Israel predicts a 75% vote for McCain, although other reports show a large number of undecideds.
From a Weekly Standard article via Soccer Dad:
We respect war heroes in Israel, especially those like McCain who were POWs,” notes Mitchell Barak, managing director of the Jerusalem-based Keevoon Research, Strategy & Communications. “We see Obama fantasizing about how he wants to sit down and talk to the terrorists, and he loses a lot of Israelis right there. He comes off as unrealistic and insensitive to the existential challenges facing the Jewish state, and as naïve.”
Naïve, indeed. It’s a theme that popped up frequently when I mentioned Obama’s name. Obama lacks experience. Obama doesn’t understand how to deal with terrorists in general, and radical Islamic terrorists in particular. Obama thinks a court of law is the right forum for dealing with terrorists. Obama thinks the U.N. is a dandy place to solve difficult problems. Obama would have happily lost the Iraq war. Obama would cede regional hegemony to the Iranians. And so on.
Sofhi Cohen lives in Sderot, which has been the target of heavy rocket attacks: two of her children were injured in one of these attacks.
“Everybody in Sderot prefers McCain to Obama,” explains the soft-spoken Sofhi, as she bakes in her kitchen on a Friday afternoon. Despite the fact that her house has been blown to bits and her husband is outside working on the repairs, she has graciously invited me to join her family for the Sabbath meal. “McCain understands terrorists and how to deal with them,” she says. She’s “quite surprised” and “disappointed” to hear that American Jews prefer Obama. “Obama seems nice, but he’s like a child.”
And for those who live with terrorists just down the road, a child clearly won’t do in the White House. “Obama is young, charismatic, and smart,” says Eli Moyal, the straight-talking mayor of Sderot, who has met with both candidates. “But McCain’s a more serious guy.” The mayor’s message to American Jews: If you care about Israel’s security, vote for McCain.
Of course, there are some with other views. Here’s the Weekly Standard on a left-leaning Haaretz columnist:
He believes that George W. Bush did Israel a “great disservice” by his unwavering support of the Middle East’s only true democracy. Why? Because Bush was too “friendly” towards Israel and didn’t push Israelis towards the “objective thinking” that would have helped them realize that they, too, are a superpower and can afford to reach settlements with the Palestinians and the Syrians. Ben-Simon believes that, despite their military superiority, many Israelis suffer from what he terms the “Warsaw ghetto mentality” and fear that their destruction could be imminent.
Such is the thinking of Obama supporters in Israel. There’s no Bush hatred. There are oodles of decency and much intellectualism. Nonetheless, many of their fellow Israelis think they are daft.