Jews-only Poll Highlights Israeli Youths' Drift to the Right

Poll commissioned by Sheldon Adelson-owned Israel Hayom conducted on 11th and 12th grade high school students exclusively from the Jewish sector, excluding the near-quarter of the country’s non-Jewish population.

Protest to support the IDF soldier suspected of manslaughter after shooting a subdued Palestinian in Hebron, Tel Aviv, Israel, March 31, 2016.
Ilan Assayag

Israeli Jewish youth in recent years have generally been perceived to lean further to the right than their parents and grandparents. But a new poll indicates that Israel’s rightist drift is even stronger than previously believed. 

The wide-ranging poll assessed the views of Israeli Jews currently in high school, in the years immediately preceding their military service. It was commissioned by and published in Israel Hayom, the daily newspaper owned by Sheldon Adelson and politically supportive of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The poll paints a picture of a highly patriotic and nationalistic generation, and should trouble politicians on the left looking for future widespread support of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal or even a vision of democratic Arab-Israeli coexistence within the country. 

Among the findings of the poll, which was conducted on 11th and 12th grade high school students exclusively from the Jewish sector, excluding the near-quarter of the country’s population that is not Jewish:

- Nearly 60 percent of those questioned described themselves as being politically right-wing, with 23 percent saying that they were centrists and only 13 percent saying they were left-wing. 

- An overwhelming majority, 82 percent, said that they believed there was “no chance” or “barely a chance” for peace deal with the Palestinians

- 85 percent of those polled said they loved their country or loved it “very much” with 89 percent of them said they planned to live out their lives in Israel. 

- 88 percent of the teenagers said they planned to do their compulsory military service. 65 percent of them agreed with the statement “It’s good to die for your country” (a quote attributed to Zionist activist and war hero Joseph Trumpeldor). More than half of those polled said there was no more moral army in the world than the IDF.

The poll included views reflective of some of the burning controversies in Israel’s headlines over recent months:

- 60 percent of the teens said that the soldier who shot and killed the disarmed terrorist in Hebron should not be tried for his actions, with just 30 percent saying that his actions justified a criminal trial. 

- Only 52 percent of those polled said that Arabs should be permitted to represent their communities in the Knesset with 48 percent saying that they should not. The issue of the loyalty of Arab Knesset members has been in the news since three Arab Knesset members were suspended for meeting with the families of slain terrorists.

The statistics published by Israel Hayom Wednesday were just some of the findings of the poll, which was conducted by New Wave Research in conjunction with the newspaper between March 27-30 on a sample of 308 Israeli teenagers. According to the newspaper, additional findings will be published on the weekend.