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Jerusalem and the Jewish People: Unity and Division

For the third year in a row we have asked the same question on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in order to give a sense of the political proclivities of JPPI Dialogue participants. The question: “Do you think the current Israeli government is making a sincere effort to bring about a peace settlement with the Palestinians?” is used in several other surveys, and hence it gives us a way of showing how the answers of Dialogue participants change from year to year, but also allows comparison the composition of Dialogue participants to those of other surveys of Jewish groups.

First, take a look at this year’s Dialogue response in graph 33.

Graph 34 compares the three Dialogue surveys with three other surveys: one of U.S. Jews by Pew (from 2013), one of U.S. Jews by The Jewish Journal[1] (from 2015), and one by Youth to Israel Adventure[2] (from 2014). Of course, these are not really comparable in a scientific way. JPPI’s survey includes Dialogue participants from all over the world, the Pew and JJ surveys are statistically representative of U.S. Jews, and Y2I alumni are a very specific group of people. In addition, the surveys were conducted in different years, and the circumstances of the Israeli-Palestinian issue are not uniform from year to year. Then again, it is worth noting that the result (with the exception of Y2I) is not dramatically different in all of the pre-2017 surveys. A plurality of Jews seemed to doubt whether Israel’s efforts to resolve the conflict are sincere. 2017 is unique – as it shows a sharp rise in the percentage of Dialogue participants who do not feel that Israel is making a sincere effort toward peace. As you can see, the fact that the JPPI Dialogue comprises people who are highly connected to Israel, have visited the country many times, and also includes a number of Israeli participants – does not make this question about the sincerity of Israel’s efforts to achieve peace any less interesting.

Quite predictably, the way participants view Israel’s sincerity is closely linked to their political and religious affiliations. The secular (and left) tends to be more suspicious of Israel’s polices, while the Orthodox right is the only group in which we found a slight majority of participants who believe that Israel is sincere in its efforts to achieve peace (graph 35).

[1] See: “When American Jews do not believe that Israel ‘sincerely’ wants peace,” Shmuel Rosner, Jewish Journal, July 2015 (based on the survey by Prof. Steven Cohen).

[2] A survey of 370 Y2I Alumni by Prof. Steven Cohen, See: http://jewishquestions.bjpa.org/Surveys/details.cfm?SurveyID=242

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