Amidst the Iron Swords war, and despite the October 7th massacre, 87% of Israelis perceive Israel as the safest place for Jews despite the security situation and therefore believe that the Jewish diaspora should make Aliyah to Israel – a significant increase compared to previous years. That said, a quarter of young secular Israelis have considered leaving the country. The numbers behind everything Israelis think about the Israel-Diaspora relations were published in a new survey conducted by the Center for Jewish Impact (CJI) and Geocartography Knowledge Group at the end of 2023.
A new survey by the Center for Jewish Impact (CJI) and Geocartography Knowledge Group in December for the third year, assessed the positions of Jewish Israeli adults over the age of eighteen about the relationship between Israel and the Jewish diaspora and the current state of affairs of Israeli society. Among the main findings, it is clear that amidst the war and despite the October 7th massacre, the threats against Israel are not perceived as more dangerous than the rampage of antisemitism worldwide, as 87% of Israeli respondents agreed with the statement that 'The safest place for Jews is Israel despite the security situation, and therefore the Jewish diaspora should make Aliyah to Israel." The finding presents a consistent increase over time in this attitude (82% in 2022 and 76% in 2020). It proves that Israelis perceive antisemitism worldwide as more dangerous than Israel's security situation and Israel as the safest place for the Jewish people, even during wartime.
Regarding the question "Have you and your family considered leaving Israel in the past year?" the survey found that one in every five Israelis has considered leaving the country in the past year, encompassing both the Iron Swords War and the judicial reform divide. Among all surveyed, 25 percent of young secular Israelis (18-34) have considered leaving, a significant gap over all other sub-groups surveyed. Most of them are still considering leaving despite the war. Three-quarters of the surveyed population indicated that they haven't and are not considering leaving despite the war, with the rate higher among older respondents and lower among secular respondents.
Regarding the question, "In your opinion, does the Jewish diaspora serve as Israel's first line of defense abroad against elements hostile to Israel?" Sixty-seven percent of respondents agreed with the statement and perceived the Jewish diaspora as a shield for the State of Israel against hostile elements, a significant increase since the previous year, where 58.8% expressed agreement. This increase is correlated with a documented increase in antisemitism worldwide and anti-Israeli protests related to the war. The findings indicate a positive correlation between respondents' more robust academic background and their level of agreement towards the question. It may be related to exposure to the severe antisemitic incidents experienced by Jewish students on campuses in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Another finding that amplifies the growing importance of the Jewish diaspora perceived by Israeli respondents is that only 46% of Israelis over 18 resonated with the statement that "the Jewish diaspora doesn't have the right to intervene in Israeli affairs since they don't live in Israel," compared with 66.4% of respondents who resonated with that statement in 2022. It is possible to interpret from this shift that the Jewish diaspora's role in facing global public opinion during the war has increased their perceived importance and partnership in advocacy efforts, and they are now seen as a more integral part of "Am Israel" in its broader definition. Therefore, there is an increase in the need for a reciprocal relationship between Israelis and the diaspora, especially during wartime.
Regarding the question, "In your opinion, following the war, will the relationship between Israel and the Jewish diaspora change?" over half (57%) of respondents are certain the relationship will grow stronger. This sentiment was higher among religious-haredi respondents (69%), whereas a larger portion of secular respondents believe the relationship will not change (42%). Regarding the question, "In your opinion, following the October 7th war, has the population of Israel grown more divided or united?" the vast majority of the public (87%) is convinced the entire population of Israel has grown more united since the war. The sentiment was also correlated with higher religiosity and was highest among religious-haredi respondents (92%).
Robert Singer, Center for Jewish Impact Chairman: "This is the third year the Center for Jewish Impact conducts a survey to assess the relations between Israel and the diaspora and explores the shifts in Israel's public opinion over time. This year shed an important perspective on the delicate relationship between Israel and the Jewish diaspora and presented important information about the state of affairs of Israeli society. The findings only stress the importance of cultivating and maintaining this relationship and elevating Israel's civil society as a bridge to the diaspora. Especially during this period of war, the data shows why Israel must maintain and deepen the ties with our brothers and sisters around the world, so that they feel equipped to help during times of war and crisis, and so we can support that diaspora as well, like these days."