37% of Israelis feel responsible towards Diaspora who chose not to make aliyah - poll

A small majority of 56% of Jewish Israelis have a sense of kinship with Jews in the Diaspora. 

DIASPORA AFFAIRS MINISTER Nachman Shai arrives to the President’s Residence last month. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
DIASPORA AFFAIRS MINISTER Nachman Shai arrives to the President’s Residence last month.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Just 37% of Israeli Jews feel personal responsibility toward Diaspora Jews who have chosen not to make aliyah to Israel, but 58% agree that the State of Israel is responsible for continued Jewish existence in the Diaspora.

This is according to a new “Diaspora Index” that Diaspora Affairs Minister Dr. Nachman Shai plans to present to President Isaac Herzog on Sunday.

The ministry commissioned the in-depth study of Israeli public opinion to coincide with Diaspora Week starting today, a celebration of the bonds between the State of Israel and Jewish communities around the world.

 Among the other results, 62% of Jewish Israelis believe Israel must support world Jewry in times of need, such as in economic or natural disasters, while 56% have a sense of kinship with Jews in the Diaspora.

The study also revealed that 57% believe that the state must take world Jewry’s interests into account when making major security decisions that could affect the safety of Jewish communities abroad. This figure falls to 49% when considering matters of religion and state in Israel.

 DIASPORA AFFAIRS Minister Nachman Shai speaks to the media at the Malmo International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism in Malmo, Sweden in October. (credit: Jonas Ekstromer/TT News Agency/Reuters) DIASPORA AFFAIRS Minister Nachman Shai speaks to the media at the Malmo International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism in Malmo, Sweden in October. (credit: Jonas Ekstromer/TT News Agency/Reuters)

Another important finding showed that 85% of Jewish Israelis believe Israel must play a central role in combating antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment on the internet.

“Many decisions made by the government of Israel affect the eight million Jews who live outside of Israel,” Shai said after reviewing the study. “We must take into consideration their concerns and perspectives, and of course be pro-active in the ongoing campaign against antisemitism. I am encouraged to see this sentiment growing ever stronger among the Israeli public.”

He noted that the nature of the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora has evolved since the state was established due to “generational changes” in both parts of the Jewish people, and that it is critical to understand how societal shifts in Israel impact this relationship.

“The index, which we are publishing for the fifth year in a row, provides quantitative figures to evaluate the prevailing attitudes in Israel toward the Diaspora and how this affects the mutual relationship,” Shai said. “This will be an important basis for strategic planning and programming within the ministry.”

Herzog said that “in a globalized world that encourages young people to abandon their identities and be citizens of the world – and amid a culture which emphasizes the unique qualities of the individual at the expense of society, family, and the nation – many Jews, especially among the younger generations, are asking themselves ‘What is the purpose of our existence as a people; what is the purpose of my existence as a Jew?’”

The president stressed, however, that “we have a common story, a common Jewish narrative, and it is this which touches not only our past and our roots but guides and influences our lives today and our shared future.”

Another interesting statistic is that 38% of Israeli Jews believe that Israel should invest resources in Jewish identity and communities in the Diaspora, just as it invests in culture and Jewish identity in Israel.

Furthermore, 58% agree that Israel has responsibility for the safety of Jews around the world who suffer from antisemitic attacks, while 78% are personally worried when they hear about antisemitic attacks against Jews abroad.