More Israelis now favor Obama as president

Monday, August 04, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama significantly improved his image among Israeli Jews during his visit to the region last month, according to the results of a new poll.

Numbers published in The Jerusalem Post showed that 31 percent of Israeli Jews said they prefer Obama as the next US president. His opponent, Republican candidate John McCain still holds a slight lead with the support of 38 percent of Israeli Jews.

Obama's support among Israelis was initially very low, as most were wary of his family's Muslim roots and his close personal ties to anti-Semitic figures like Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Obama's 36-hour visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas was treated by the Israeli media with great fanfare, and the candidate's campaign team and local supporters plastered Jerusalem with his image.

Obama's team caused a small local outcry when it turned the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism, into a campaign venue by putting his posters all around the place of worship.

Obama himself made a show of solemnly praying at the Wall and placing a petition to the Almighty in the ancient stones. It was later revealed that the placement of the prayer was yet another campaign stunt, as its contents had previously been submitted to Israeli media.

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