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Almost half of Israelis who voted in an online survey said they wanted to give Barack Obama an envelope containing the Ebola virus as a present for his 53rd birthday. The poll by Israel’s popular news and entertainment site Mako follows rare criticism from Washington over the high civilian death toll in Gaza. While unscientific and not necessarily representative of Israeli views, by early Tuesday more than 2,000 people had weighed in on the hypothetical question, a spokesman for the site told NBC News early Tuesday. The top choice - at 46 percent - was to give Obama the deadly virus that has killed almost 900 people in West Africa. Other less popular choices included "peace in the middle east" and "golf clubs."
On Monday, which was Obama’s birthday, the president signed a bill approving $225 million of U.S. funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. The White House has been keen to downplay suggestions of a growing rift after the U.S. said strikes on schools in Gaza were "horrifying" and "disgraceful." Those comments came in the wake of reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Obama "not to ever second-guess me again" after peace talks with Hamas broke down.