Study finds Israelis more detached

40% of Israeli adults and nearly half of younger generation don't identify with Israel or its problems.

israeli teens (photo credit: Sarah Levin)
israeli teens
(photo credit: Sarah Levin)
The proportion of Jewish Israelis who feel "a part of" the state has reached new lows, with 40 percent of the adult population reporting a sense of detachment, and nearly half of the younger generation saying they don't identify with their country and its problems, according to a study released this week. The steepest decline in connectedness or belonging took place among haredim: from 85% in 2003 to only 42% in 2008, the study by the Israel Democracy Institute's Guttman Center said. Also worrisome was the change among immigrants from the former Soviet Union, with only 58% of them now feeling a connection to the state and its problems, down from 84% in 2004. The survey further reported a steady decline in the rate of Jewish Israelis who want to remain in the country, with 70% of adults and 63% of young Israelis eager to stay. The downward trend was attributed to globalization processes affecting the entire world and the particular challenges faced by modern-day Israel. Despite the discouraging results, the study did offer a hint of optimism. While FSU immigrants may be less interested in Israel and its problems than in 2004, they are still prepared to fight for the country. According to the report, this is especially true of immigrants 40 years and older, who have never served in the IDF. Researchers at the Guttman Center said one possible reason for this finding may be the concept of self-sacrifice that was rooted in Soviet political culture.