Survey claims weakening ‘Zionism’ among Israeli youth

A survey of Hebrew-speaking Jewish youth in Israel, the results of which were released on Monday, found that feelings of Zionism among respondents were generally more reserved than in previous generations.

The study, commissioned by the Zionist Council in Israel and presented at the opening of the Zionist Youth Congress in the West Bank’s Gush Etzion settlement bloc, found that Israeli teens aged 15-18 were less willing than before to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the country, and that many could imagine a life abroad.

The Midgam Research Institute surveyed 501 young people online, asking them how much they identify with the phrase “It’s good to die for our country.” Average identification with the phrase, on a scale of 1-10, was 6.4. The phrase was more resonant among members of the religious community (7.9) and traditional Jews (7.2), and far less so among secular (5.4) and ultra-Orthodox Israelis (4.4).

The phrase is usually attributed to Zionist fighter Joseph Trumpeldor, who is said to have uttered it before being killed in the battle for Tel Hai in 1920.

The survey also found that about a quarter of secular Israeli youth wanted to leave Israel and make their lives elsewhere, according to Channel 1 News.

Some 76 percent of respondents said they intended to join the Israel Defense Forces, including 92% of males and 60% of females.

Only 70% of respondents self-identified as Zionists, and 89% identified themselves as Israeli.

Israeli youth overwhelmingly described themselves as following religious tradition in some capacity, with 92% of males having read from the Torah on their bar mitzvah, and with 87% of all youth saying that they eat Shabbat dinners with their families. Some 60% reported that they eat or try to eat at kosher restaurants only.

On the question of Jerusalem, 85% of youth surveyed said they were unwilling to give up parts of the capital, even if it led to a real peace with the Palestinians. Twenty percent of secular youth were willing to relinquish East Jerusalem for peace.