Israel News | Zionism Israel Center | Zionism History | Zionism Definitions | ZioNation | Forum | Zionism FAQ | Maps| Edit

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Young American Jews may not really be alienated from Israel.

The study finds that as Jews grow older they are more attached to Israel. This tends to refute previous claims that young people are becoming increasingly disaffected. "It's just a phase they go through."
However, because of the methodology, it is equally possible that as people grow older, the young people who were not attached to Israel drift away from the Jewish community, so that older Jews are self-selected for attachment to Judaism and to Israel.
Ami Isseroff

 Study: Young American Jews are not alienated from Israel
By Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz Correspondent

Scholars reject 'prevailing pessimism regarding the future relationship of American Jews to Israel.'

WASHINGTON - Despite being on the road, I heard about this new study that just came out today and did not want to wait with the good news. So, I will share some of the highlights here and maybe write more about it later. For those really interested in the topic - I recommend reading the study in full. I, for one, found it to be very interesting.

So let's dive into it, starting with the most surprising conclusion: "Jewish attachment to Israel has largely held steady for the period 1994-2007". There is no decline. Those of you who bothered to read any of my previous posts on this matter
(Another study, more proof: Younger American Jews are alienated from Israel), can calm down.

The new study was released by the Steinhardt Social Research Institute at Brandeis University. I spoke with two of the three scholars responsible for this study (Len Saxe and Ted Sasson. Charles Kadushin was also on the team) and they feel pretty confident about its findings. Prof.
Saxe of Brandeis told me that he is more than ready to debate those who will not agree with the conclusions of this study if need arises. There are "strong reasons for rejecting the prevailing pessimism regarding the future relationship of American Jews to Israel", the study declares.

With such conclusions, there is no doubt that the need will arise.


So why did we think young Americans don't care for Israel as much as the older generation?

"Differences in attachment to Israel are likely related to life-cycle rather than the diverse experiences of successive generations. As American Jews grow older, they tend to become more emotionally attached to Israel".


And how do we know that?

Using the
Annual AJC Survey in which there are two questions "related to attachment to Israel almost every year".

One asks respondents whether "Caring about Israel is a very important part of my being a Jew." On this question, "the proportion of respondents agreeing that Israel is a 'very important' aspect of their Jewish identity holds stable throughout the entire time period" (19994-2007).

The second asks "How close do you feel to Israel?" and here is the analysis of the response: "Between 1994 and 2005, the proportion feeling close to Israel increased by 11 percents, from 66 to 77 percent of the sample; between 2006 and 2007, it declined by 7 percent. For the period as a whole, the spread between those indicating 'close' and 'distant' increased by a modest eight percent. Given the reported margin of error in these surveys, this is close to being a flat response".

And by the way, "Stability in the proportion of respondents indicating closeness to Israel is evident across the denominations."


That's all about American Jews in general, but what about the younger generation?

"If the younger generation's attachment was in decline, we would expect the proportion of respondents in the older two age categories indicating strong support of Israel to decline over time as younger respondents replaced older respondents within each category". This hasn't happened: respondents in the two older categories "either grew more attached" or their "level of attachment remained unchanged".

The authors site studies from the seventies and the eighties in which there was also a gap between young and old on the question of attachment. What does it prove? That as people get older (and wiser) the also grow more attached to Israel.


But Jewish liberals do grow more distant from Israel, don't they?

Well, not exactly. This might astonish (and probably upset) some of my conservative friends, but according to this study "general political orientation on a continuum from 'extremely liberal' to 'extremely conservative' is not related to attachment to Israel" (of course, one can argue about the meaning of attachment for the different groups, but that's another story).


So how come we thought the attachment to Israel was declining?

This is a long story. But to make it short I will quote this: "In a series of reports, articles, and books" Prof. Steven Cohen and colleagues "discern evidence that erosion in support is underway". So, again, it is the old story of Cohen the alarmist (my description, no one said such thing to me).

Alarmist - assuming that this study is right and he was wrong.


I asked Ted Sasson what Cohen will say about his conclusion. He told me that Cohen read some of the drafts and that one argument will probably be that the AJC surveys are not accurate enough when it comes to reflecting the growing segment of the community that is intermarried.

However, Sasson points out that their study does in fact control for the influence of intermarriage.


Any other good news in this study?

Yes. The more American Jews travel to Israel, the more they become attached to it. And in recent years, the number of travelers has been growing, and will grow even more thanks to the Taglit-Birthright program (young Jews go to Israel for free). This "implies the likelihood that such upward pressure on Israel attachment will continue in the future".

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Subscribe to
email newsletter for this site and others

Powered by

Feedblitz subcription
To this Blog only

You can receive our articles by e-mail. For a free subscription, please enter your e-mail address:

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Web Logs & Sites

This Site

Zionism & Israel
Zionation Web Log
IMO Web Log (Dutch)

ZI Group
Zionism-Israel Pages
Israël-Palestina.Info (Dutch & English)
Israƫl in de Media
MidEastWeb Middle East News and Views
MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log

Brave Zionism
Israel: Like this, as if
Israel & Palestijnen Nieuws Blog

Friends and Partners
EinNews Israel
Israel Facts
Israel Proud Adam Holland
Middle East Analysis
Irene Lancaster's Diary
Middle East Analysis
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israel Facts (NL)
Cynthia's Israel Adventure
Jeff Weintraub Commentaries and controversies
Meretz USA Weblog
Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers
Simply Jews
Fresno Zionism
Anti-Racist Blog
Sharona's Week
Z-Word Blog
Jewish State
Take A Pen - Israel Advocacy
Zionism on the Web
ZOTW's Zionism and Israel News
Zionism On The Web News
ZOTW's Blogs
Christian Attitudes
Dr Ginosar Recalls
Questions: Zionism anti-Zionism Israel & Palestine
Southern Wolf
Peace With Realism
Sanda's Place
Liberal for Israel
Realistic Dove
Blue Truth
Point of no Return
Christians Standing With Israel
Christians Standing With Israel - Blog

Encylopedic Dictionary of Zionism and Israel
Middle East Encyclopedia
Zionism and its Impact
Zionism & the creation of Israel
Zionism - Issues & answers
Maps of Israel
Christian Zionism Resources
Christian Zionism
Albert Einstein
Gaza & the Qassam Victims of Sderot
Zionist Quotes
Six Day War
Jew Hatred
Learn Hebrew
Arab-Israeli Conflict
International Zionism

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Israel Boycott
Boycott Israel?
Amnesty International Report on Gaza War
Boycott Israel?
Dutch Newspaper Reporting: A Study of NRC Handelsblad
Hamas (Dutch)
Dries van Agt (Dutch)
Isfake lobby

At Zionism On the Web
Articles on Zionism
Anti-Zionism Information Center
Academic boycott of Israel Resource Center
The anti-Israel Hackers
Antisemitism Information Center
Zionism Israel and Apartheid
Middle East, Peace and War
The Palestine state
ZOTW Expert Search
ZOTW Forum

Judaica & Israel Gifts
Jewish Gifts: Judaica:
Ahava Products

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

RSS V 1.0

International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory