An increasing number of Jewish Americans are backing Republicans in elections, though traditionally Jews, as a group, have overwhelmingly supported Democrats.

A study by the Republican Jewish Coalition found 2002 exit polling data showed an increase of 60 percent among Jews who supported the GOP.

In 2002, said RJC Executive Director Matthew Brooks, 35 percent of Jews who voted supported Republican candidates. That was up from the 21 to 26 percent during previous midterm elections.

“This data simply confirm what we have been saying all along,” Brooks said. “Jewish voters are increasing their support for the Republican Party.

“Like other minorities, they resent being taken for granted and ignored by the Democrats. Jewish voters increasingly support Republican leadership on foreign policy and a broad range of other issues. That is translating into more Republican votes,” he said.

The survey also found more voters identified themselves as Republicans between 1994 and 1998 while fewer said they were political independents. And, more women identified themselves as Republicans. Furthermore, twice as many respondents said they cast votes for Republican House members to support President Bush as did those who voted against GOP candidates to oppose him.

Other Republican activists also see an increase in support for the GOP.

Dr. Robert Eberle, president and CEO of Republican news and information website, told WorldNetDaily he also sees an increase in Jewish support for Republicans due to a number of factors, not the least of which is the GOP’s traditional support for Israel.

“The Jewish community is finally starting to see that the Republican Party solidly supports Israel,” he said. “Although we all strive for peace in the Middle East and believe that a lasting peace requires work by both the Israelis and Palestinians, we stand by Israel’s right to defend itself from aggression and terrorism.”

A related fact, he said, is “since 9-11, the Jewish community has seen that Republicans are tough on terror and are willing to take the fight to the terrorists. The Republican Party is the party of national defense, and I believe the Jewish community values that commitment to security.”

The RJC believes the current drift to the GOP may be long-term.

“We are seeing a major shift in American political-party alliances,” said Brooks. “We expect these realignment trends to continue.”

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