Jewish Journal


The Israelis who would not support Diaspora Jews

by Shmuel Rosner

June 28, 2012 | 10:14 am

Israeli President Shimon Peres speaks to the Jewish community of Los Angeles, March 8, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

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?‎

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