(JNS.org) As the Nov. 6 election approaches, American citizens living Israel have begun to cast absentee ballots in record numbers, with many reportedly voting for Republican Mitt Romney.
Daniel Laufer, 26, from North Miami Beach, Fla., told the New York Times he voted for Romney because of his “economic record” and because he had become “disenchanted with Obama’s Middle East policies.”
According to poll released by the Begin-Sadat Center last summer, nearly a quarter of Israelis (23 percent) expressed a negative attitude towards Obama, up from 14 percent from a 2009 survey. Whereas in the 2009 survey 60 percent of Israelis described their attitude towards Obama as positive, in the current poll only 38 percent felt that way.
While support for Obama in Israel is trending more negative, American-Jewish support for Obama has remained relatively steady. A recent American Jewish Committee survey found that 61 percent approve of Obama’s handling of U.S.-Israeli relations, while 39 percent disapprove.
There are an estimated 160,000 eligible American voters in Israel. In 2008, nearly 30,000 Americans in Israel voted, but this year the number has increased substantially with as many as 75,000 Americans registered.
An organization called iVoteIsrael helps Americans living there register and cast their ballots. However, some have accused iVoteIsrael, which is officially non-partisan, as being funded by Republican donors and having a pro-Republican bias in some of its campaign ads and speakers. But iVoteIsrael has steered clear of making any official endorsements and has sponsored several events and debates featuring both Democrats and Republicans.