Mideast Awaits U.S Election Outcome

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JERUSALEM, Israel - From Israel to Iran, people throughout the Middle East are eagerly awaiting the outcome of Tuesday's presidential election, because the results will have a profound impact on the future of the region.

The Israeli Vote

Jewish voters in Israel might play a key role in Tuesday's election. Last week, Vote from Israel announced the first exit poll of American citizens around the world.

"Americans here in Israel, some who are living here. Some are students. Some are tourists. Americans who are currently here in Israel favor John McCain by an overwhelming margin," said Mitchell Barak of Keevoon Research.

Supporters of both candidates showed up at the announcement.

"I'm supporting John McCain for several reasons. I think he is just by far the stronger candidate when it comes to reasons, issues of the economy, foreign policy issues," said McCain supporter Abe Katsman.

Obama supporter David Fine said, "Barack Obama represents a change from the failed policies of the Bush administration and the Republican Party as a whole. He really has done a stellar job on organizing his campaign." 

Meanwhile in Palestine…

Palestinians are also playing a role in Tuesday's election.

Twenty three year old Ibrahim Abu Jayyab is calling American citizens in order to convince them to vote for Obama. But Palestinians are not the only ones in the Middle East rooting for Obama.

The speaker of the Iranian parliament declared, "We are leaning more in favor of Obama because he is more flexible and rational."

Middle East analyst Barry Rubin says these kinds of statements demonstrate Iran and Syria have a clear favorite.

"We have seen statements both by officials, in state-controlled media. in the capitals of Syria and Iran that the regimes want Obama to be elected and believe he will win," Rubin said.

"Expecting this outcome, they believe there will be a U.S. government which will not be too tough on them - meaning that they will either have freedom of action or a U.S. government eager to negotiate with them and make concessions to them," Rubin explained.

Christian broadcaster and former political consultant Earl Cox is worried that this kind of support from Israel's enemies does not bode well for the Jewish state.

"Well, what does that tell you? Does that tell you we have a person who's going to be friendly to Israel or a person who will do exactly what he said he's going to do, sit down and talk with terrorists? Terrorists like Ahmadinejad, terrorists who will want to destroy Israel and wipe the Jewish people off the face of the earth," Cox said.

Obama - Friend or Foe?

Obama claims he strongly supports the U.S.-Israel relationship and that America's top commitment in the Middle East must be the security of Israel.

Yet Cox says many Israelis worry that their enemies see a potential ally in Obama.

"They know that if Obama is elected that they will have a person they can talk with - talk with about dividing the land of Israel, dividing Jerusalem."

So both candidates have their supporters - and critics - in the Middle East. And people throughout the region are eagerly awaiting the outcome of this election.

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Chris Mitchell

CBN News Mideast Bureau Chief

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