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Whichever side they take, most Americans seem to want a peaceful solution in the Middle East. Perhaps that's why, though the majority expresses support for Israel, only 10 percent said that U.S. military aid to that country should be increased, according to an October poll by the Pew Research Center. Most people say the level of aid should stay the same (57 percent), but one-fourth would like to see it decrease. Men are almost twice as likely to want to boost funding to Israel (13 percent versus 7 percent of women), as are the less educated, low-income earners and conservative-to-moderate Democrats.

The public remains committed to Israel if somewhat gloomy about its prospects. A March 2002 Newsweek poll found that only 1 in 3 believe that Israel will still be a Jewish state 50 years from now. Nearly 1 in 4 say it will be a mixed state and almost 1 in 5 say it won't exist at all. Since Sept. 11, Newsweek has also asked if the U.S. should lessen its ties to Israel in order to reduce the acts of terrorism against us. A slim majority say no (53 percent in March versus 50 percent in post-attack September 2001). Only 3 in 10 Americans say the U.S. should pull back for that reason. Meanwhile, a somewhat pessimistically worded poll from Fox News/Opinion Dynamics in March 2002 asked, “Do you think there will ever be peace in the Middle East?� Only 17 percent of Americans said yes.

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