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2019 Annual Assessment

This is a question that is asked consistently and in near-identical wording between surveys. This consistency makes it possible not only to compare different surveys, but also to identify trends over time. It also allows us to understand not only the importance of caring about Israel within different Jewish communities around the world, but also the relationship between such caring and the way the respondents perceive Jewish identity.

US Jewry

The AJC data on US Jewry shows a mixed downward trend (from 80 percent who agreed that “caring about Israel” was an essential part of their Jewish identity in 2000, to 62 percent in 2019).

The data indicates that the level of agreement/disagreement with the statement is significantly influenced by a large number of demographic factors, including (as in the previous question): respondent age – older people agree with the statement to a greater degree than younger people; respondent ideological views (ranging from liberal to conservative) – respondents with conservative tendencies agree more than do liberals; and religious stream – Orthodox Jews tend to agree more than do Reform and secular Jews.

As Figure 4 shows the youngest age cohort (i.e., those under age 30) exhibits, for most years, slightly higher agreement rates than the 30-39 age cohort. When we analyze the findings for 2001, 2004, 2005, and 2018, when the percentage of under-30s who agreed with the statement was higher than that of the 30-39 age cohort, we find that religious-stream affiliation, as noted, was a major factor. During these years, the percentage respondents in the 30-39 age cohort who stated that they do not belong to any Jewish religious stream was over 30 percent, which skewed the answers of the group as a whole. Thus, we see that an overlap between age and religious-stream affiliation affects participant responses. Another variable with a significant influence on answers to the “caring” question was the number of Israel visits. Jews who have visited Israel tend to agree with the statement to a greater extent. Figure 5 (AJC 2017) shows that, with the exception of two age groups (50-59 and over 70), visiting Israel affects the level of agreement with the “caring” statement. This relationship was also significant in other survey years (2000, 2005, 2012, and 2016).

Table 2: Agreement that “Caring About Israel Is an Essential or Highly Essential Part of My Being a Jew”: Data in Different Cross-Sections from Selected Surveys

AJC NJPS Pew JPPI (US) JPPI (World)
2000 2005 2013 2018 2019 2000 2013 2018
Total 80.0% 79.4% 75.4% 70.1% 62.0% 81.0% 43.0% 91.1% 87.8%
Gender Male 80.3% 80.3% 73.3% 66.5% 61.0% 39.0% 92.6% 87.8%
Female 79.8% 78.6% 77.5% 73.7% 63.0% 46.0% 90.1% 87.3%
Age Groups 1 <30:
73.6%
<30:
80.4%
18-29:
56.8%
18-29:
67.6%
18-29:
44%
18-34:
75%
18-29:
32%
18-29:
84.8%
18-29:
79.4%
2 30-39:
85.5%
30-39:
68.9%
30-44:
47.2%
30-49:
57.3%
30-49:
53%
35-49:
78%
30-49:
38%
30-49:
87.3%
30-49:
84.8%
3 40-49:
78.7%
40-49:
77.2%
45-59: 79.6% 50-64: 74.9% 50-64: 77% 50-64: 83% 50-64: 47% 50-64: 96.7% 50-64:
96.3%
4 50-59: 81% 50-59: 79.6% 60+:
80%
65+: 78.3% 65+: 72% 65+: 87% 65+: 53% 65+: 96.7% 65+: 97.4%
5 60-69: 77.4% 60-69: 84.8%
6 70+: 79.6% 70+: 87.4%
Political outlook Liberal Very liberal:
77.8%
Liberal:
74.4%
65.2% 54.0% Very liberal:
67.7%
Very liberal:
68.1%
Liberal tendency 80.7% 62.0% 73.9% Liberal:
88.6%
Liberal:
86.4%
Middle of the road 80.7% 62.0% 73.9% 96.4% 90.2%
Conservative tendency 85.6% 90.0% 92.2% Conservative:
100%
Conservative:
97.30%
Conservative: Conservative:
84.1%
Very conservative: 80%
89.6% 80.8% Very Conservative:
100%
Very Conservative
87.5%
Political affiliation Republican 80.2% 80.9% 91.8% 83.8% 80.0%
Democrat 81.5% 81.9% 71.1% 67.6% 58.0%
Independent 76.6% 73.5% 74.0% 67.6%
Other 67.4% 57.0%
Religious stream Orthodox 95.9% 91.8% 73.3% 95.7% 90.9%
Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) 87.2% 57.0% 45.0%
Modern Orthodox 95.7% 97.0% 88.0% 79.0%
Conservative 88.8% 90.0% 80.1% 87.4% 85.0% 91.0% 58.0% 92.7% 92.4%
Reform 76.1% 75.3% 80.9% 75.7% 68.0% 81.0% 42.0% 85.3% 85.3%
Non-affiliated/ secular 68.5% 67.6% 72.0% 54.4% 42.0% 69.0% 31.0% 92.0% 82.5%
Reconstructionist 80.0% 77.3% 32.0% 61.3% 72.0%
No opinion 60.0% 40.0% 36.4% 43.8%

European Jewry

The FRA surveys of 2012 and 2018 looked at how important supporting Israel is to respondents’ sense of Jewish identity. In the 2018 survey (the data was collected in 2012), most respondents (81 percent) agreed that supporting Israel is a major element of their Jewish identity. The findings by age indicate that support was higher among older age cohorts. While 74 percent of the 30 and under cohort and 72 percent of 30-39 cohort said that supporting Israel is important or very important, the figures for those in the 40-49, 70-79, and 80+ age cohort are 81, 87, and 88 percent, respectively. In the breakdown by country, France had the highest level of agreement regarding the importance of supporting Israel (90 percent), followed by Belgium, Germany, and Italy (83 percent). Hungary had the lowest level of agreement (66 percent). We have no country breakdown for the survey published this year, but the total agreement rate for Europe declined (73 percent). The age breakdown suggests no change in that sphere. Support for Israel is higher among older age groups: 74 percent for the 16-34 age cohort, 85 percent for the 35-59 cohort, and 86 percent for those 60 or over.

Canadian Jewry

The Canadian survey asked: “What is essential to being a Jew?” Several options were offered, including caring about Israel. Forty-three percent responded that caring about Israel is essential, another 43 percent said that it is important but not essential. This question also shows an age effect; 37 percent of respondents in the 18-29 age group said that caring about Israel is essential (the percentage drops slightly among the 30-44 age cohort), versus 57 percent for those 75 or over.

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