21:09 GMT26 January 2020
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    Among his remaining Republican rivals, Trump is the only candidate who hasn't shown unwavering support for Israel, suggesting that he could negotiate an Israel-Palestine peace agreement by being 'more neutral'. Nevertheless, recent polling has found that Trump leads the Republicans in favorability even by Israeli Jews.

    Real estate mogul Donald Trump has made a habit of breaking the rules of American politics, and political correctness, becoming the leading Republican candidate despite controversial statements, gestures and policy proposals.

    Of the four remaining Republican candidates, Trump has been the only one not to pander to Israel, suggesting at a recent debate in Florida that he could serve as a neutral arbiter to negotiate a peace deal between Israel and Palestine. 

    The eccentric billionaire's rivals quickly jumped to attack him for his remarks, Senator Ted Cruz suggesting that in Trump's place, he "will not be neutral," and Florida Senator Marco Rubio going further, arguing that Trump's policy was "anti-Israeli," because a peace deal with the Palestinians is impossible.

    In December, Trump angered some donors at a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition, telling them "you're not going to support me because I don't want your money" and making politically incorrect jokes about Jews being "good negotiators."

    Nevertheless, a recent poll by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University found that Israeli Jews have been nonplussed by the candidate's unconventional rhetoric. The polling, conducted earlier this month, found that 61% of Jewish Israelis believe Trump's stances are 'very or moderately friendly' to Israel, with only 14% saying that they are 'not so friendly' or 'not at all friendly'.

    At the same time, lukewarm support among the Israeli media has not stopped Trump from being the second preferred candidate of Israelis as a whole. According to a Friday poll by news site Walla News, 23% would like to see Trump elected president, compared with 38% who support Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders and Trump's Republican rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio received 7%, 5% and 4% support, respectively.

    At the same time, when asked 'which candidate would be best for Israel's interests', Trump comes out on top, with 25% of respondents picking him, compared with 24% who think the same of Clinton, and 18% split evenly between Sanders, Cruz and Rubio.


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    opinion polling, polling, Republican Party (United States), Donald Trump, Israel, United States
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