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Vast Numbers of California Jews Are Disengaging from Israel, Survey Shows

Allan C. Brownfeld, Editor
Special Interest Report
April 2018

Only a minority of young Jews in the San Francisco Bay area believe a Jewish state is important, and only a third sympathize more with Israel and the Palestinians.  
When 18-34 year-olds were asked if they are “very attached” to Israel, only 11% said yes, compared to 45% of those 50 or older. Is a Jewish state very important? Thirty seven per cent of the young said yes. Only 40% of the young said they were “comfortable with the idea of a Jewish state.”  
Haaretz (Feb. 14, 2018) reports: “A survey polling the Jewish population of the San Francisco Bay Area … found that only 21 per cent described themselves as ‘very attached’ to Israel and almost as many (20 per cent) described themselves as ‘not attached at all.’ While 43% say they sympathized with Israelis and only 8% preferred the Palestinians, almost half said they either sympathized with both sides, with neither, or were not sure. Professor Steven M. Cohen of Hebrew Union College, who led the study, said, ‘We see there are a growing number who are ‘Israel disengaged,’ especially among younger people.”  
Among the “very liberal,” only 45 per cent are comfortable with the idea of a Jewish state. Among older and more conservative respondents, 76 per cent answered in the affirmative.  
Another study, released in January by the Pew Research Center, found that Americans are more divided in their attitudes toward the Middle East since 1978. Pew asked respondents whether they were more sympathetic to Israel or the Palestinians. The study found that 79 per cent of Republicans sympathize more with Israel than with the Palestinians, and that 27 per cent of Democrats sympathize more with Israel. Sympathy for Israel is lowest among Americans younger than 30.  
Prof. Guy Ziv of American University says that millennials’ view of Israel is shaped by recent events. Israel’s early history as a weak, threatened country, is, he says, “just that — history.”  
According to Ziv, “Before 1967, Israel was seen as the underdog, and it was easy to identify with its underdog status. Israel has now come to be seen as an international superpower due to its advanced economy and military might.” •

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