A poll conducted by the Israeli news and entertainment site Mako reveals a majority of respondents want to send an envelope containing the deadly Ebola virus to President Obama for his 53 birthday.
The poll results appeared after the United States criticized Israel for bombing the UN-run Rafah school in the Gaza Strip. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon characterized the attack as a “gross violation of international law.”
“The United States is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons, in which ten more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed,” a statement released by State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki reads. “We once again stress that Israel do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties.”
“UN facilities, especially those sheltering civilians, must be protected, and must not be used as bases from which to launch attacks. The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians.”
Israel responded by saying if militants are turning schools and other vicinities into war zones they should be held accountable. It claimed to have targeted members of the Islamic Jihad group on a motorbike near the school.
Prior to the criticism, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, told the White House to not get involved in a ceasefire and peace negotiations with Hamas. Netanyahu told senior U.S. officials “not to ever second guess me again” on the matter.
Obama’s approval rating in Israel has fluctuated between 10 and 4 percent. “Israelis really hate Obama’s guts,” Shmuel Rosner, a columnist for two leading Israeli newspapers, said in 2010. “We used to trust Americans to act like Americans, and this guy is like a European leader.”
Despite widespread animosity and even hatred of Obama and the United States, the U.S. has provided the Jewish state with billions over the last 70 years. According to the Federation of American Scientists, since the end of the Second World War “the United States has provided Israel $121 billion (current, or non-inflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance. Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance, although in the past Israel also received significant economic assistance.”
The actual figure, however, is disputed. “Because parts of U.S. aid to Israel are buried in the budgets of various U.S. agencies or in a form not easily quantified – such as the early disbursement of aid, giving Israel a direct benefit of interest income and the U.S. Treasury a corresponding loss – it is virtually impossible to arrive at an exact dollar amount,” writes Shirl McArthur, a retired U.S. foreign service officer.
On Monday the Obama administration signed a measure providing $225 million in “emergency aid” to Israel for its so-called missile and rocket defense system, Iron Dome.
“The United States is proud that the Iron Dome system developed in coordination with Israel and funded by the United States has saved countless Israeli lives,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. “Continued bipartisan support for Iron Dome funding ensures Israel will retain vital defense against rockets and artillery in light of the enduring threats.”