2016 Annual Assessment

Annual Assessment 2016

Dr. Shlomo Fischer

Avinoam Bar-Yosef, Susanne Cohen-Weisz, Rémi Daniel, Chaya Ekstein, Dan Feferman, Avi Gil, Inbal Hakman, Michael Herzog, Simon Luxemburg, David Landes, Dov Maimon, Steven Popper, Uzi Rebhun, Shmuel Rosner, John Ruskay, Noah Slepkov, Shalom Solomon Wald, Einat Wilf

Barry Geltman
Rami Tal

2016 Annual Assessment

This year, because of the publication of the JPPI Pluralism Survey of Israeli Jews and the Pew Center’s report on the attitudes and values of Israelis, A Religiously Divided Society, the identity and identification gauge will focus on Jewish Identity in Israel.

Our analysis begins with the components of Jewish identity. According to the JPPI survey, three out of four components are especially meaningful – culture, religion, and nationality. Over two thirds of the Israeli Jewish population find these components somewhat or very meaningful. (Less than half found ancestry somewhat or very meaningful.) Among these three leading components nationality stands out: 55 percent of the total Jewish population found this component very meaningful, which is significantly more than those who found religion or culture very meaningful (42 and 45 percent).

This finding is also echoed in the Pew Survey. According to Pew, fully 88 percent of Israeli Jews find being Jewish to be a matter of nationality or culture, or religion and nationality or culture.

This finding is also consistent with an international survey of 700 Jews connected to organized Jewish life conducted as part of the 2016 JPPI Global Dialogue Process. In that survey 69 percent gave a high score of 4 or 5 (on a 1 to 5 scale) to peoplehood/nationality as a primary component of Jewishness; 68 percent scored culture similarly.

The Pew Report also indicates the strength of Jewish identity among Israeli Jews:

88 percent said they had a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish People

93 percent said they are proud to be Jewish

90 percent said being Jewish is at least somewhat important to them.

We believe that the strength of Jewish identity and Jewish identification in Israel (where over 40 percent of the world Jewish population reside, and which has the highest birthrates – among non-intermarried families – and a rapidly growing population) more than compensates for the reported decline in Jewish identification in the United States. As a result we are moving the needle slightly to the right in the direction of Prospering.