Poll: Israeli patriotism holding steady

While 92 percent express willingness to fight for their country, Israelis feel less need to remain here.

IDF soldier lebanon 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
IDF soldier lebanon 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The number of Israelis expressing a willingness to fight for their country has held steady over the past two years at 92 percent, according to the Expressions of Patriotism Index presented at the Herzliya Conference this week. Similarly, the number of Israelis defining themselves as Israeli patriots held steady at about two-thirds at the start of 2008, compared to figures during the past few years. The study, formulated as a questionnaire asking Israelis about national morale and patriotism, also showed that Israelis associate "patriotism" with "love of the land" more than any other value, including the Hebrew language, social justice and state institutions. Yet, while patriotism remains high, and in some questions, such as the willingness to fight, even shows an increase among the young, Israelis feel less need to remain in the country. There was a 10% decline in the preference for Israeli citizenship over other Western citizenships in just the past two years. While this phenomenon is tempered by the general inclination (78% of Israelis) to remain in the country "despite the current situation," nevertheless, fewer Israelis say they will encourage their young to remain in the country. While patriotism may be waning, religious identification seems to be on the rise, indicated by a higher level of pride among Jewish Israelis in their Jewish identity than their Israeli identity. The national symbol that holds the most resonance for the broadest spectrum of Israelis is the siren on Memorial Day for Israel's fallen soldiers, the study found. The study and related publications are at the Herzliya Conference Web site www.herzliyaconference.org