Most Israelis believe country’s future depends on ties to US Jewry, poll finds

Ruderman Family Foundation-commissioned survey explores Israeli attitudes toward American Jewry.

Survey showing intermarriage is ravaging the American Jews (photo credit: BRENDAN MACDERMID / REUTERS)
Survey showing intermarriage is ravaging the American Jews
Almost 80 percent of Israelis believe Israel’s future is dependent on the country’s relations with American Jewry, according to a poll released on Tuesday.
The survey – commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation – exploring Israeli attitudes toward American Jewry was conducted among 500 Israelis by Teleseker in November.
The margin of error was 4.5%.
In response to the question, “To what extent, in your opinion, is the future of Israel connected [to] and dependent on Diaspora Jewry in general and specifically American Jewry?” 17% said it was dependent “to a very great extent,” 27.1% “to a great extent,” and 34.7% “to some extent.” Only 9.1% said they felt “not very connected/ dependent,” and 11.8% “not dependent at all.”
In the wake of the recent Pew poll of American Jewry, which found among the younger generation that only about one-third feel that concern for Israel is a central component of their Jewish identity, respondents were asked: In the near future, will “support for the State of Israel by American Jews strengthen, weaken, or remain at the level it is today?” Only 14.8% said it would strengthen, 32% said it would weaken, 44.8% said it would stay the same, and 8.4 % said they didn’t know.
Asked for their response to the increasing number of American Jews who do not raise their children as Jews as well as the increase in intermarriage, 7.8% said “frustration,” 38.1% said “concern,” 22.9% expressed “sadness,” 26.2% “indifference,” and 5% didn’t know.
The poll was discussed in a meeting of the Knesset Caucus for Israel-US Relations on Wednesday, attended by Ruderman Family Foundation president Jay Ruderman, American Reform leader Rabbi Rick Jacobs and Tzohar head Rabbi David Stav.
Stav said the question of the Jewish state’s relationship with US Jewry “is critical for Israel’s future.”
“We are committed because we are all brothers,” said Stav.
“The first problem to deal with is giving honor to one another.”
Jacobs called for tolerance among Judaism’s various streams.
“The founders of this country found strength in their diversity – so should we!” he said.
“Conservative and Reform movements are flowering and growing in Israel.”
Ruderman called the dialogue “frank and meaningful.”
“Israeli society and the American Jewish community exist in very different realities, yet Jews in America play a strategic role in securing Israel’s future,” said Ruderman. “Our foundation helped establish the Israel-US Caucus in the Knesset in order to encourage a more sophisticated and informed discussion between the communities.”