"A large part of educated society seems more positively oriented toward Israel than against it," said Alexander Militarev, rector of the Jewish University in Moscow.
"There are people who don´t like Israel.They tend also to be anti-American.They´re strong nationalists and often Communists," Militarev
said."But it seems to me they aren´t a large group."
The government reflects the popular attitude, Militarev
"The president and government are diplomatically neutral, but emotionally pro-Israel.
You can feel it when he
speaks about the Mideast," Militarev
Putin´s latest public statement on the conflict came a week ago, when he
denounced terror attacks against Israeli civilians but urged Israel to weigh its response carefully.
pointed to two significant reasons why Russians have been more tolerant of Israel´s
recent military offensive - or at least more muted in their criticism - than other Europeans.
"On one hand, there are a lot more Arabs in Europe," who have been a main source of anti-Israel feeling there, he
In contrast, the majority of Muslims in Russia either are Tatars from the central Russian republic of Tatarstan or members of various ethnic groups from the northern Caucasus region.
"On the other hand, the liberal left is stronger in Europe," Militarev
said, suggesting that the leftist intolerance for state-sponsored violence - and its glorification of the perceived underdog - also contributed to the prevalence of protest in western Europe.
In Russia, in contrast, "a disgust for Soviet power has pushed the intelligentsia to the right," Militarev
said."And then there´s a big part of the population that just isn´t very interested."
Others have speculated that Israel enjoys more support in eastern Europe because those populations mistrust the positions taken by the former Communist regimes, which for decades were the Arab world´s diplomatic sponsors.
One of Russia´s
two chief rabbis, Berel Lazar, also acknowledged a greater tolerance among Russians for Israel´s military action.