Poll: Most Israelis Think Diaspora Jews' View Should Be Considered in Policy

Most Israeli Jews support equal status for Conservative and Reform movements - but not funding, study finds.

Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Young American Jews on a Birthright program in Israel.
Young American Jews on a Birthright program in Israel.Credit: Nir Keidar
Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz

A majority of Israeli Jews believe that the government needs to consider the effects of critical decisions it makes on Jews living abroad and even take into account the views of Diaspora communities when making these decisions.

This was one of the key findings of a survey published Wednesday by the Israel Democracy Institute and presented at a special panel being held in Jerusalem as part of the Jewish Media Summit – a gathering of more than 120 journalists representing Jewish newspapers and broadcast outlets around the world. The poll, conducted in early May, was designed to assess the attitudes of Israeli Jews to the Diaspora.

Asked whether the government, in making important decisions, should take into consideration how they would influence the situation of Jews in the Diaspora, 29.7 percent of the respondents said it very much needs to and 41.4 percent said it somewhat needs to. Another 9.9 percent said it does not need to at all, and 16.5 percent said it does not need to so much.

Asked whether the government, in making important decisions, should take into consideration the viewpoints of Diaspora Jews, 16.7 percent said it very much needs to and 34.2 percent said it somewhat needs to. Another 20.2 percent said it does not need to at all, and 26.5 percent said it does not need to so much.

Another key finding of the survey was that although a majority of Israeli Jews believe that the Conservative and Reform movements should have equal standing with Orthodox in Israel, only a minority favor providing government allocations to fund the non-Orthodox streams.

Asked if they believed the Conservative and Reform movements should have equal status in important matters like conversion and marriage, 26.4 percent of the respondents said they were certain they should and 24 percent they think they should. Another 43.4 percent said they were either certain they should not or they think they should not.

Asked if they supported providing government funding to the non-Orthodox movements and their rabbis, 34.6 percent said they were strongly opposed and 17.2 percent said they were somewhat opposed. Another 40.3 percent said they were either strongly in favor or somewhat in favor.

In another revealing finding, only a minority (38.9 percent) of Israeli Jews said they supported allocating government financial support to Jewish communal activities abroad. This comes several weeks after the cabinet approved a new initiative to spend NIS 180 million over the next three years on programs in the Diaspora that strengthen Jewish identity. This new initiative will come on top of the NIS 400 million that it already spends each year on Diaspora programs, primarily Taglit-Birthright and Masa, which runs dozens of educational, volunteer and internship programs for young Jewish adults across Israel.

Asked which objective they felt was the most important for world Jewry to focus on today, the respondents listed fighting assimilation among young Jews in the Diaspora as their top priority (29.1 percent). Next in line was the struggle against anti-Semitism (23.5 percent). Trailing rather far behind that was a relationship/attachment to Israel (13 percent).

The respondents were also asked to describe what they believed was the primary connection between Jews in Israel and the Diaspora. Jewish culture and tradition was the most popular response (39.8 percent) by a large margin – followed by Jewish religious law (18.4 percent), Jewish nationality (12.7 percent) and anti-Semitism (12.6 percent).

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott