Maya Alerrozo / AP
Israel, appreciate To host the world’s third-largest community of eligible American voters abroad, it’s seeing record turnout in this year’s election, according to local Republican and Democratic activists. Judging from President Trump’s popularity in Israel and the demographics of American expatriates in Israel who are mostly Orthodox Jews, pollsters believe that many American voters in Israel have cast their votes for the president.
Meanwhile, by an overwhelming majority of Palestinians Hate, contempt Trump, a recent poll showed. But some Palestinian Americans living under Israeli rule in Jerusalem avoided voting in the US elections, fearing that they would raise the powers as US citizens. Palestinians who obtained US citizenship could be stripped of the Israeli residency rights in the city claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians.
The president’s divergent preferences stem from Trump’s preference for Israel over the Palestinians. His policies sparked protests from liberal Jewish groups and Palestinian rights advocates in the United States. But they got Trump’s support from many American Jewish voters residing in Israel.
Pro-Trump activists in Israel have waged the most visible Trump re-election campaign outside the United States. Last month, a batch of motorcycles had Trump flags rumbling Through the cobbled Old City of Jerusalem, passing through Palestinian shops. Trump posters in Hebrew Has been affixed In minibuses in Tel Aviv, the heart of liberal Israel. This week, the Israeli settlers rose up recitation Prayers for Trump’s victory at the biblical Shrine of Ibrahim, a shrine hardly shared by Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank.
The Trump administration “just came and flipped the script. They said, we don’t have to pin peace in the Middle East on the Palestinians,” says Etana Hecht, an American-Israeli voter who arrived in Jerusalem with Convoy Cars decorated with Trump flags. She praised Trump’s diplomatic agreements brokered between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, deals that marginalize the Palestinians but excite the Israelis.
“We are really looking to have our son’s bar mitzvah in Abu Dhabi,” says Hecht.
The administration continued to make pro-Israel announcements in the run-up to Tuesday’s elections. David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel, posed in front of the cameras last week to unveil new US policies Support Controversial Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Claims To quarrel over Jerusalem.
Jews in Israel support Trump more than Jews in the United States. a The survey Last month, it was found that 75% of American Jews preferred Democratic candidate Joe Biden and 22% preferred Trump. But recent polls of Israelis have found roughly the opposite. Survey released on Monday have found 70% of Israeli Jews preferred Trump, 13% preferred Biden, and 17% were unsure.
Polls indicate that perceptions of pro-Trump support in Israel may influence some Jewish and Evangelical voters residing in the United States.
“American Jews living in Israel say, ‘Hey, the man is fine’ – I think it has some kind of influence on the electorate,” including their relatives in the United States, says Israeli-American pollster Mitchell Barak. Poll is led to Of US citizens of Israel in 2016, 49% found support for Trump and more than 44% for Hillary Clinton.
But US voting rates in Israel tend to be low. According to the United States government Data from 2018, Israel is home to an estimated 183,500 eligible American voters – only Canada and the United Kingdom have more. But only about 15,600 American voters were registered with Israeli mailing addresses for the 2016 presidential election, according to numbers compiled by the US Voter Data Extractor and provided to Barak.
Even if all US voters residing in Israel cast their ballots, they are scattered across several US states, and the numbers will not be sufficient to influence any state’s vote tally, according to Dalia Sheindlin, an Israeli-American pollster in Tel Aviv.
“In short, it’s not just about us,” she says.
However, some American immigrants to Israel who stopped voting in the US elections decades ago are voting this time.
“In the past, they thought it was inappropriate, to live here, but this time they felt very motivated,” said Mark Zell, chairman of the board. Republicans abroad Israel.
The Israel branch of the Democratic Party says it has led a socially distant campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic, but has seen its members multiply. Online voter registration platform The number of users preferred by Democrats abroad was three times the number of users in Israel this election season than it was in 2016.
“This is the real game – helping voters vote day in and day out for months – not the motorcades of flashy cars the day before the election,” says Heather Stone, President Democrats Abroad Israel.
Biden has support from some unexpected locations, she says, such as the ultra-Orthodox city of Beit Shemesh and the Jewish settlement of Efrat in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
“There was a slight increase in membership from Efrat. Before we had only a couple … [Now] “We have a whole lot, tens,” says Stone.
Although the Palestinians pin their hopes on Biden for a fairer US policy in the Middle East, it is difficult to determine the number of eligible American voters in the Palestinian territories, and many refuse to vote.
Palestinian-American businessman Osama Salah says he knows American citizens in East Jerusalem who did not vote in the US elections because they feared that Israel would strip them of their local residency rights if the US embassy provided voter registration information with Israel.
HaMoked, a Palestinian rights advocacy group, says there is no evidence that voting in the US elections exposes Palestinian Americans to any danger. The US Embassy in Jerusalem says that sharing private citizens ’records, such as registering voters, without their consent, is against US law.
Under Israeli law, however, Palestinians residing in Jerusalem who acquired US citizenship or left Jerusalem for more than seven years are at risk of losing their residency rights in the city. Israeli lawyer Addy Lustigman says Palestinian Americans often fight legal battles to regain residency.
Some US citizens who married local Palestinians fight protracted legal battles to obtain Israeli residency papers. They are concerned that registering to vote and showing political affiliation might land them in trouble with Israel or mistakenly assume that voting means affiliation with the US government.
Kifah Abu Qadeer, a Palestinian-American living in Jerusalem from Atlanta, says she has failed to recruit enough activists to start her own branch of Democrats abroad for the Palestinians.
“People don’t feel safe being part of something that is related to the United States,” says Abu Qadir. “They are being intimidated because they think they will be on some kind of network.”
Sami Sokol contributed to this report from Jerusalem.