Right wing US Jews are not pro-Israel

Young people and Israel:

By Ami Isseroff

The news about North American immigration to Israel is wonderful, but let’s face it, “wonderful” is relative. 3,200 immigrants a year, or even 10,000 a year, is just a tiny drop in the relatively big bucket of American Jews. At the rate of even ten thousand a year, it would take 80 years just to bring back to Israel the same number of Israelis who now live in North America.

The worse news is that young Jewish people are disaffected from Israel. This is shown in two different studies by Frank Lunz and by Kelman and Cohen that indicate a systematic drop in support for Israel on the part of younger Jews.

Kelman and Cohen used a conventional survey methodology on a group of non-orthodox Jews from a sample of consumer study group respondents. Perhaps it is not the most representative sample, but probably indicative. Kelman and Cohen’s study found that for every survey question, Jews under 40 were less attached to Israel than older age cohorts. Perhaps the most interesting finding in this study is that attachment to Israel is not easily related to left wing or right wing politics, and that the group most extremely alienated from Israel are young right-wing Jews. This makes sense if we consider that liberal politics and Judaism tend to go together. Those who are alienated from the Jewish community will tend to be more like the general population. An unsurprising result was that those who had been to Israel have a much greater attachment to the country. Of course, we don’t know if this is a cause or a result. People who don’t care about Israel are unlikely to visit here.

Lunz’s study was based on his usual focus group methodology, with all its acknowledged drawbacks. But the conclusions are mostly unarguable and predictable. Israel advocacy groups are sending the wrong messages, in the wrong media, and in the wrong way for younger Jews. Younger Jews are turned off by requests for donations, don’t care about religion and won’t visit a Hillel center, don’t go to “Jewish lectures.” They want incisive, factual and emotion-laden appeals with few words and lots of pictures. They are interested in peace, and are turned off by chauvinistic messages, messages about security, or messages that single out Muslims.

September 10, 2007 | 3 Comments »

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3 Comments / 3 Comments

  1. What Bull! One might ask what country in the world today has good politicians? Bush? hasent stopped people from immigrating legal or other wise to America or the EU from the third world. I don’t see a mass exodus from America because their leadership is BAD? Young Jews in America are put off Israel because they have been removed from Jewish traditions, culture, history, no less than Judaism as the foundation stone of their existence. No Judaism in the home, no sense of people hood, and no real reason to be Jewish and by definition a Zionist or Israel supporter. This trend I fear will continue and you can’t use our problems here as an excuse for the failure of the American and western cultures for their internal problems. The very people Like leftist Isseroff are the cause of the problem not a particular Israeli politician or problems we have here. Remember that according to survey the age groups were under 40. Here we have a case of the blind leading the blind and then blaming third parties for their woes. Before Isseroff comments on the Jewish Galut problems, let him first look at Israeli assimilation trends beginning with his home Kibbutz and what has happened over the Years to the Kibbutz movements. The saying that people who live in Glass Houses should not Throw Stones applies here. Isseroff seems to gloat over this survey and if this is the case I would only say that he is part of the problem not its cure!

  2. The lack of competent leadership in Israel is a real “turn off.” From a Jewish outsider looking in…it appears that Israel is on a “down hill slide.” Until the Jewish People living in Israel oust Olmert and his “crew” Israel will not look like a place American Jews will want to come home to. I believe they are “stirred” by their roots, but they simply cannot see a future to go home to at this time in the history of Israel.

    If Israel could hold early elections, and place Bibi Netanyahu into the Office of the Prime Minister, it would give renewed hope, and confidence for a bright, positive and safe future for Jewish residents in the Nation and Land of Israel.

    American Jews would sit up and take notice, and the wheels of change would spark a desire to pursue the possibility of going home.

    The Ball is in the court of the Jews in Israel, as to whether their fellowmen and women will have a desire to come home to Israel.

  3. Two issues for Jews in the US re: Israel. First, why would a Jew who believes in Israel want to go to Israel when they continue to elect and hold in office people like Olmert and Barak and Livni that want to give the country away??? We have left wing crazies here, but here at least we have different states. Now I know that there good answers to these comments, but it is troubling.

    Second issue that Israel has 1.4MM Arabs and yet the it continues to give a hard time to non-orthodox Jews that want to move there and live there.

    Israel’s government system seems so disfuctional for Jews who actually want a Jewish state, that it kills the desire to move there. Will Israel survive???

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