A large majority of the Jewish public in Israel believes that there is a sense of mutual responsibility between Jews abroad and the Jews of Israel. The findings come as part of a poll commissioned by the Jewish Agency to mark the establishment of the Jewish World Caucus, launched Monday, Mar. 20th, at the Knesset. The launch event was attended by government ministers, members of Knesset, and representatives of Jewish communities abroad, opening with a moment of silence to mark the murderous attack in Toulouse, in which a schoolteacher and three children were killed.
The Jewish Agency poll was meant to examine the importance ascribed by the Jewish public in Israel to ties with world Jewry on a number of different planes, as well as the significance of that connection to strengthening Israel and ensuring the Jewish people’s continuity. It was conducted by the Dahaf Institute amongst a representative sample of the adult Jewish public in Israel. The findings show that 91% of the Jewish public in Israel either are certain (54%) or believe (37%) that world Jewry will be at Israel’s side in the event of a regional assault such as an Iranian threat. They further show that 91% of the public either are certain (61%) or believe (30%) that the State of Israel ought to assist Jewish communities in economic, political, or anti-Semitic distress.
The Jewish World Caucus will be co-chaired by Coalition Chairman MK Ze’ev Elkin and MK Dr. Nachman Shai and will include some forty members of Knesset from all Zionist factions, who will work to advance matters on the Jewish world’s agenda. The caucus, which was initiated by The Jewish Agency, will act to strengthen the ties between Israel and the Jewish world. Measures will include legislation and an increase in dialogue between members of Knesset and global Jewish leaders. A particular emphasis will be placed on strengthening the connection between Jewish young people abroad with Israel, and with the world Jewish community. The caucus’s activities will be conducted in coordination with the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, and in partnership with the Jewish Agency, whose work strengthening ties with Jewish communities abroad is historic.
The poll’s findings show that a majority of the Jewish public in Israel ascribes high importance to the economic and political support of world Jewry for the State of Israel. 95% of respondents said they believe political support by world Jewry is either very important (67%) or somewhat important (28%), and 86% said they believe economic support by world Jewry is either very important (53%) or somewhat important (33%).
As for the sense that Jews in Israel and world Jewry are part of one people, 81% of respondents said they either are certain (30%) or believe (51%) that Jews abroad and Jews in Israel feel that they are part of one people. At the same time, as for the stability of ties with world Jewry, nearly one quarter of respondents (23%) said they believe the relationship with world Jewry to be weakening, as opposed to only 12% who believe the relationship is becoming stronger. Just over half (56%) of respondents believe the relationship with the larger Jewish world is stable.
The poll also examined the contribution of ties with the Jewish world, and of visits to Israel by Jewish young people from abroad on such programs at Taglit-Birthright Israel and Masa Israel Journey, to the Jewish people’s continuity. 89% agree strongly or agree somewhat that the relationship between world Jewry and the Jews in Israel contributes to the Jewish people’s continued existence.
The poll found further than an overwhelming majority of the public ascribes high importance to visits by Jewish young people from abroad to Israel, greater than the importance ascribed to visits by Israeli young people to Jewish communities abroad. 96% of respondents said it was either very important (78%) or somewhat important (18%) that Jewish young people from abroad visit Israel, as opposed to 74% of respondents who believe that it is either very or somewhat important that Israeli young people visit Jewish communities abroad.