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The Jewish Agency Poll: Vast Majority of Israelis Believe Israel and Diaspora Jewry
Share Responsibility for Mutual Well-Being

March 21, 2012 / 27 Adar 5772

Poll Marks the Launch of The Jewish Agency-Initiated Jewish World Caucus at the Knesset

New York — In a poll commissioned by The Jewish Agency for Israel, Israelis overwhelmingly indicated that they value a strong relationship with Diaspora Jews. Specifically, the poll found that 75 percent of Israelis believe that Israel and Diaspora Jewry are mutually responsible for one another. The poll also found that 91 percent of the Israeli public believes Israel should assist Jewish communities during crises, such as this week’s tragic terrorist incident in Toulouse, while 96 percent believe that visits by young Jews from the Diaspora are important drivers of Jewish unity.

“Jewish children were attacked in Toulouse solely because they and their parents sought to maintain their connection with Jewish tradition and the Jewish state,” said Natan Sharansky, The Jewish Agency’s Chairman of the Executive. “The enemies of the State of Israel and of the Jewish people are one and the same.”

Conducted by the Dahaf Institute amongst a relative sample of adult Jews in Israel, the poll was meant to examine the importance ascribed by Jews living in Israel to ties with world Jewry on a number of different planes, as well as the significance of that connection to strengthening Israel and ensuring the Jewish people’s continued unity. It was released to mark the launch of the Jewish World Caucus—a body of 40 Knesset members from all streams of Zionism.

The Caucus, organized at the request of The Jewish Agency, will strive to strengthen ties between the Jewish Diaspora and Israel through legislation and increased dialogue on the subject of Diaspora-Israel relations.  A particular emphasis will be placed on deepening the bonds between young Jews abroad and in Israel, such as the connections engendered by programs, including Birthright Israel and the Jewish Agency’s Masa initiative—a partnership with the Israeli government through which thousands of young Jewish adults travel to Israel each year for extended periods of time to volunteer, study and participate in professional internships.

Additional findings include:

  • Eighty- one percent of respondents said they are either certain or believe that Jews abroad and Jews in Israel feel that they are part of one people.
  • Eighty-nine percent strongly agree or agree somewhat that the relationship between world Jewry and the Jews in Israel contributes to the Jewish people’s continued existence.
  • Only 56 percent believe Israel’s relationship with the Jewish world is stable, with 23 percent believing that the relationship is weakening and 12 percent believing the relationship is becoming stronger.

Israel’s Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein said, “I welcome the establishment of the caucus and believe that the work that it will do will not only bring world Jewry closer to Israel, but also bring Israelis closer to world Jewry.”

Coalition Chairman MK Ze’ev Elkin said, “The Jewish World Caucus is more important today than ever before.  Only yesterday did the terror attack in Toulouse provide shocking proof that the fate of world Jewry is the same as that of Jews in Israel, regardless of where they live.  The caucus will seek to encourage mutual involvement and to strengthen the relationship.”

MK Dr. Nachman Shai added, “The relationship with the Jewish people is strategic and constitutes one of the keys to Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish and democratic state.  It is incumbent upon us, as the largest Jewish community in the world, to invest effort in strengthening the Jewish people and its connection to the State of Israel.”

For press inquiries contact Barry Spielman at 212-339-6069/barrysp@jafi.org or Josh Berkman at 212-339-6068/joshuabe@jafi.org.


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