I was not exactly kind to previous B’nai B’rith surveys of contemporary Israeli attitudes toward Diaspora Jewry, and maybe that’s why the most recent survey was not sent to me by the organization, but rather brought to my attention by other means. It is a poll that still contains some dumb questions (do you support the establishment of a Jewish parliament?) but is better then the previous poll, and has a couple of interesting nuggets.
For example: Israelis seem happy to assist Diaspora Jews provided that such assistance would be explicitly connecting them to Israel (connecting, but not having an impact, most Israelis would not give Diaspora Jews – and Israelis living abroad - a voice in the Knesset). Only 46% of Israelis would want their “tax money” to go to Diaspora communities in need, but 80% support the financing of Birthright and Masa programs with their money.
One slide that is truly fascinating is the one in which support for Diaspora programs among Israelis is divided by party preferences. Take a look:
A couple of things to note:
1. The secular left, more prosperous financially, is much less willing to send its money overseas. Labor voters, 41%, Meretz voters 31%, and Yesh Atid – Yair Lapid’s new party of centrist, urban, upper middle class Israelis – at 25% are the least supportive of financial support of Diaspora communities. The exception is centrist Kadima voters. I have no good explanation for this.
2. The low income Shas voters seem much more willing to give their money away. But the 100% seems quite suspicious, isn’t it?
3. One would expect Russian-born Yisrael Beiteinu voters to be more willing than others to support Diaspora communities in financial distress, but they aren’t.
4. The only groups in which less than 70% support Israeli financing for Birthright are Meretz voters and the voters of United Torah Judaism. The ultra-Orthodox voters are none-Zionist, a reasonable excuse for such position. Is there a segment of the Meretz voter bloc that has similar tendencies which mean it does not support such a Zionistic enterprise?