Arabs in Israel blog more than Jews, study finds
By RUTH EGLASH
"Israel in the Digital Age" report shows new immigrants get online to stay connected to their hometowns.
Arabs in Israel blog more than Jews, while new immigrant youth use social
networking platforms to stay connected to the friends they left behind. These
are just some of the findings of a first-of-its-kind study released Monday
looking at how Israelis use the Internet.
Funded by Google Israel and
carried out by academics at the School of Media Studies at the College of
Management Academic Studies (COMAS) in Rishon Lezion, the study titled “Israel
in the Digital Age 2012,” questioned more than 1,200 respondents ranging in age
(from 12 upward) and population sector.
Overall, the study found that the
online habits of Israelis directly reflect the country’s social, economic,
cultural and religious makeup, with the secular public being more connected to
the Internet than the ultra- Orthodox, higher earners and young people spending
more time on social networking platforms and Hebrew speakers preferring to surf
The study noted that Israeli Arabs are much
more active in blogging compared to their Jewish counterparts.
one-third (28.3 percent) of Arab speakers who reported writing a blog said they
updated it daily, while only 12% of Jewish bloggers said the same.
study also found that 37% of the Arab population that reads blogs does so
everyday, while only 24% of the Jewish population reads blogs with such
Researchers also noted that while many young people admitted
to being extremely active on social networking sites such as Facebook – saying
that the forum allowed them to stay in touch with friends – all new immigrant
youth aged 15-17 interviewed for the study said they were involved in social
Another of the study’s key findings was the overwhelming
interest among Israelis in Hebrew-only websites, even for those whose mother
tongue is something other than the country’s official language.
to the findings, 67.5% of Israelis surf primarily in Hebrew, while only 16.5%
prefer to use English.
One-third of Hebrew-speaking users said they only
visit Hebrew websites.
Dr. Yuval Dror, head of digital media at the
School of Media Studies at COMAS, who led the study, said its main goal was “to
open the black box” and shed light on Internet usage in Israel.
digital age is rapidly changing Israeli society,” Dror said. “But in recent
years the media and public discourse has lacked reliable, open and comprehensive
data which can form the basis for the determining policy and decision-making in
the public and private sectors alike.”
“By examining all the various
population sectors in Israeli society, the survey shows how the Internet
influences Israelis, determines their priorities, actions and deeds,” he
In general, the study found that the overwhelming majority
(70%) of Israelis regularly surf the Internet.
However, while only 7.7%
of secular Israelis admitted to not being connected to the online world, more
than half (58%) of the ultra-Orthodox population here is not
The study also found that more than half of Israel’s Internet
users participate in a social networking service at least once a week, with
younger users involved on a daily basis and older citizens (over 65) using it
Research noted that respondents with a higher level of education
were less likely to use social networks daily.
Many of Israel’s Internet
users (74.3%) utilize the medium regularly to watch videos online – but it is
the ultra-Orthodox public (almost 81%) who uses this format more than the
Comparing the Jewish and Arab sectors, research found that
76% of Jews and 63% of Arabs watch online videos, although more Arab users (27%)
upload videos than Jewish users (19%).
Meir Brand, Regional Director for
Israel, Greece and South Africa at Google, said he hoped the study would be
utilized for decision-making in policy issues relating to the Internet and as a
basis for initiatives in the private and public sectors.