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Gallup poll: Support for Israel in U.S. at 63%, near record high; but don't get too comfortable

For the first time since 1991, more than 6 in 10 Americans -- 63% -- say their sympathies in the Middle East situation lie more with the Israelis than with the Palestinians. Fifteen percent side more with the Palestinians, down slightly from recent years, while a combined 23% favor both sides, favor neither side, or have no opinion.
Middle East Sympathies, Full Trend, 1988-2010
Bottom Line
In the ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict, a striking 63% of Americans currently say their sympathies lie more with the Israelis, the highest level in nearly 20 years. Support for the Palestinians, at 15%, is about average for the same period. At the same time, Gallup finds Americans' fundamental views of Israel no more favorable than they have been for the past several years. Israel does continue to enjoy a substantial advantage over the Palestinian Authority in its general image, a fact that clearly colors the ways Americans view the conflict.

Americans are no more optimistic today than they were last year that peace can be reached between Israel and the Palestinians -- and they are, in fact, less optimistic than they were toward the end of the Bush administration. This is largely owing to a drop in optimism among independents.

See full poll results and analysis

Jerusalem Conference's Wednesday 17 Feb schedule begins with Livni, concludes with PM Netanyahu

The Jerusalem Conference provides a unique forum for the discussion of Israel's national priorities, social values, and aspirations, as well as the challenges and external threats faced by Israel and the West. Every year the Jerusalem Conference hosts key figures, opinion-molders and policy-makers from Israel and around the world -- all leaders in the political, economic, academic, media, communal, security, military, and rabbinic spheres.

The Jerusalem Conference is dedicated to the promotion of Jewish heritage and values and to Israel’s future as a viable, modern, democratic and Jewish state. The setting for the Jerusalem Conference – Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem – underscores the Conference’s devotion to Israel’s capital city. In the near future the Jerusalem Conference expects to hold additional conferences in other locations in Israel and in key cities in the United States.

Watch Live from Jerusalem through 6:30 pm GMT, 1:30 pm Eastern Standard Time

What will Limmud L.A. create this year?

LimmudLA organizer Shep Rosenman and pop singer/songwriter Jill Sobule collaborate with participants in this Jewish songwriting workshop 2-years ago. (Photo by Scott)

Joo-Tube covered Israel's national elections last year from Jerusalem, pre-empting our annual coverage of Limmud L.A. When we covered it in 2008, we produced the following videos, which have been viewed by over 11,000 people.

Watch Joo-Tube's original videos from the LimmudLA 2008 President's Day Eve concert. "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy," Debbie Friedman sings her inspiring "Mi shebayrach."

Debbie then breaks into an upbeat medly of "Turn the World Around,""Oseh Shalom," "Miriam," "Hallelu," and "David Melech Yisrael" which moved the sold-out audience of LimmudLA participants to dancing and rejoicing. (Click the second button to navigate the videos' menu).

The Moshav Band (in the 3rd of 3 videos above) performed their inspirational anthem, "Come Back (to Me)" the soundtrack of the famous Nefesh b'Nefesh aliyah documentary.

JTA syndicated this review of Limmud '08 by Sue Fishkoff.
“I knew what I was getting into and I still wanted to come, because I love all Jews,” said Rabbi Moshe Shapoff, who traveled to Limmud LA from his Israeli home in the Jerusalem suburb of Givat Zeev, where he co-founded a vocational school for haredi youth.

“I was literally in tears seeing all those Jews dancing together. At the end of the day, it’s not what we wear, but that one soul touches another,” he said.

That’s a big part of what the British-based, volunteer-driven Limmud is about: Jews of all stripes and ages coming together to study, worship and learn from each other.
Read it all.

Mrs. Deidre and Dr. Richard Sterling were among the LimmudLA participants who appreciated Israeli General (ret.) Shimon Erem explaining his General David ben Gurion's ideology to nurture alliances with gentile friends supportive of the Jewish national refuge.

L.A. Muslim students endeavor to disrupt public discourse with Israeli Ambassador Oren; Exposes Univ of Calif at Irvine administration's complicity tolerating intolerant Muslim movement on campus

Ambassador Michael Oren addressed an overflow audience on US-Israel relationship and global affairs at the Univ of Calif Irvine. He discussed the Zionistic element (support for the return of the people of Israel to their ancestral homeland) within America's founding and maturing, from John Adams, through Abraham Lincoln, to Harry Truman. He discussed Americans' widespread spiritual and social support for democratic Israel, the only land where rule of law guarantees free-speech in the Middle East. He discussed the evolution of the multi-faceted ties between the US and Israel- which strategic relationship began towards the end of the 1967 Six-Day War.

Amb. Oren noted the U.S. and Israel's shared values - spiritual and democratic, and their shared interests- economic and political - from allying to resisting Communism, to resisting Islamic-extremism, today.

He discussed the state of the current relationship between Washington and Jerusalem, vis a vis the Obama's administration's pressure to force the creation of a state of Palestine. He discussed Israel's considerations regarding the conditions of Palestinian sovereignty and prioritizing it over stopping nuclear proliferation within the Islamic world - which would extort the West with threats to leak nuclear-weapons into Islamic-extremists' hands.

U.C. Irvine, with a large Muslim enrollment, has been criticized for fomenting a climate of aggressive anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism through its Muslim Students Union. The M.S.U. organized a stream of students disrupting through the speech, ignoring appeals from Chancellor Paul Drake and Political Science Dept Director Mark Petraca. Police Chief Paul Hensley chose not to position a uniformed police deterrence between the disrupting Muslims' seating sections and the Ambassador at the podium following repeated outbursts- and Muslim students continued to disregard faculty appeals- creating 10 disruptions. At least eleven agitators were arrested. Amb. Oren walked out briefly, but Rabbi David Eliezrie reports that he elected to return on his dedication to the attendees, his Jewish perseverance, and the promise of his hosts to suspend or expel further disruptors.

Shalom Elcott, President and CEO of Jewish Federation Orange County, said the highly-orchestrated disruptions by the President of the Muslim Student Union (MSU) - who was arrested, along with one MSU board member and 10 other student protesters - constituted an embarrassment to the University and an insult to the broader community. “While we had hoped the administration would have been better prepared to thwart groups or individuals trying to harass Ambassador Oren, we do commend the University police for making arrests and taking action to escort the perpetrators out of the room,” says Elcott. “And, we are proud of the Ambassador not letting the disruptions stop him from completing his address. We will intensely monitor what actions the University administration will take in response to this evening’s event and will report our findings to the community,” says Elcott.

Palestinian political refugee, Ghazi Brighith, in the accompanying deplored the Muslim agitators' behavior as un-Islamic.