A man waves flags of Israel as Israeli Air Force planes fly in formation over the Mediterranean Sea during an aerial show as part of the celebrations for Israel's Independence Day marking the 70th anniversary of the creation of the state, in Tel Aviv, Israel April 19, 2018..
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
Not even three-quarters (72%) of American Jews and only a little more than half (53%) of French Jews think that a thriving State of Israel is vital for the long-term future of the Jewish people, according to a new study by the American Jewish Committee (AJC).
The AJC on Sunday released its first-ever concurrent surveys of the attitudes of Jews in France, Israel and the United States, the three largest Jewish communities in the world.
In addition to the above findings, the study showed an increase in American and French concern about their own security.
Some 65% of American Jews said they feel less secure than they did a year ago. Similarly, half of French Jews say the situation in France in terms of security is worse than a year ago.
A majority of French Jews (58%) have personally experienced antisemitism, and more than half (56%) say they do not think that France is effectively combating the growing number of hate crimes.
Strikingly, a majority (55%) of French Jews have considered emigrating from the country in the past year for various reasons. Around one-fifth (21%) said it was for economic reasons, 17% for fear of the Jewish community’s future and another 12% are worried about France’s future.
For Americans, the climate on college campuses seems to be the most worrisome. Some 57% of US Jews say it has become increasingly uncomfortable for pro-Israel students on college campuses.
When it comes to thinking that caring about Israel is an important part of one’s Jewish identity, some 62% of Americans and 59% of French agree that it is important. In contrast, more than one-third of Americans (35%) and French (37%) Jews disagree.
The AJC study is in line with previous recent studies.
For example, a May report by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry found that violent attacks on Jews and Jewish targets around the world rose by 13% in 2018. Those violent attacks were centered in the United States, which was home to more than 100 cases.
In France, there were 35 cases of violent attacks in 2018, according to the Kantor report.
The 2013 Pew Research Center Survey of US Jews: A Portrait of Jewish Americans, the most recent full report of American Jewish attitudes toward Israel, found that only 30% of all Jews are very attached to Israel and another 39% are somewhat attached.