A majority of youths, some 70 percent, say they consider themselves Zionists, according to a survey released at the 33rd National Youth Zionist Congress.
Education Minister Shai Piron presented the findings at the congress, organized by the Zionist Council in Israel and the World Zionist Organization, which took place in Gush Etzion on Monday and Tuesday.
“One of our problems is the contempt and archaism of the word ‘Zionism.’ If you are not connected to this place, if you did not come from the younger generation of tradition, you are likely to forget that you are a Zionist,” said Piron.
The survey was initiated by the Zionist Council in Israel and aimed to examine the level of Zionism among youth in the country.
According to the findings, youths today do not feel a strong sense of identification with the question “Is it good to die for our country?” On a scale of 1 (no connection) to 10 (strong connection), the average identification with this statement stood at 6.4.
There was considerably higher solidarity among the national-religious (7.9) and traditional (7.2) youth, and much lower solidarity among secular (5.4) and ultra-Orthodox (4.4) youth. The findings also reflected increased solidarity among the youth in the South (6.8) and in Judea and Samaria (7.8).
Regardless of this question, 76% of youths said they intend to enlist in the IDF. Some 14% intend to serve the country through National Service, while 10% do not intend to serve in any capacity.
The findings further indicated that 92% of teenage boys intend to enlist in the IDF, compared to 6% who do not expect to serve in any capacity. While 60% of teenage girls said they plan to enlist in the IDF, 25% intend to complete National Service and 13% do not intend to serve at all.
“Israeli heroism in our day is enlisting in the IDF for the good of the people.
Serving in the IDF is not just because of the problems facing the Israeli people, but because of giving, because the essence of our lives is in this country. You are here to say there is a story of a special nation that is not afraid to undertake a long journey,” said Piron.
According to the survey, 89% of youths said they identify themselves as Israeli, and 59% said they prefer to buy Israeli products.
Furthermore, 85% of youths said they would not agree to divide Jerusalem, even if it meant achieving true peace with the Palestinians. In the secular sector, however, 20% of youths said they would be willing to give up Jerusalem for true peace.
The survey found that one out of every 10 youths would like to live abroad, though among secular youth this number grows to nearly one out of four. In addition, one out of every three youths would prefer to live in the central region when they are older.
Regarding Jewish tradition, the findings indicated that a vast majority, 92% of boys, read from the Torah on their bar mitzvas, 87% have Shabbat meals with their families, 67% say kiddush for Shabbat and 60% of youths eat or try to eat at kosher restaurants.
The survey was conducted by Midgam Research and Consulting in March via an Internet questionnaire given to 501 Hebrew-speaking Jewish youths aged 15 to 18 throughout the country. The findings reflect a +/- 4.5% margin of error.