Zionism’s tailspin: Stark minority of young California Jews are ‘comfortable with idea of Jewish state’

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The latest study of U.S. Jewish attitudes towards Israel only confirms the trend– Zionism is tanking; there is growing indifference to the idea of a Jewish state among younger, unaffiliated Jews.

Here’s that survey of over 3500 Bay Area Californians, 96 percent of whom consider themselves Jewish or partly Jewish, released yesterday by the Jewish Federation in the Bay Area.

When 18-34 year olds are asked if they’re “very attached” to Israel, only 11 percent say yes, compared to 25 percent of those 50 and older. Is a Jewish state very important? 37 percent of the young say yes. Only 40 percent of the young are “comfortable with the idea of a Jewish state.”

Ask the same questions among those 50-64, and the numbers are, 61 percent regard a Jewish state as very important, and 64 percent are comfortable with the idea of a Jewish state. Zionism is age-related, of course: Over 65, that number is 73 percent comfortable with the idea of a Jewish state.

Among the “very liberal,” only 45 percent are comfortable with the idea of a Jewish state, only 17 percent are very attached to Israel, and 44 percent think that a “Jewish state is very important.” The numbers among very conservatives are 76, 32, and 68 percent.

Intermarriage affects these attitudes, of course. In-group couples are, by 54 percent to 4 percent, more sympathetic to Israel than Palestinians. But mixed couples are more sympathetic to Israel than Palestinians, by much less, 36 percent to 7 percent.

Haaretz has the right headline: vast numbers of progressive California Jews are disengaging from Israel.

Other tidbits: Among 18-34-year-olds, the intermarriage rate is a whopping 66 percent, compared to 42 percent of those over 65.

The affluent are far more Jewishly-engaged. This would seem to be an indication of age– older=richer. They are also the bastions of the Israel lobby.

Then there are the unaffiliated, who make up 43 percent of the sample. Only 8 percent of them say they are “very attached” to Israel. They sympathize with Israel more than Palestinians, as every other grouping in the survey does; but the number isn’t overwhelming, it’s 32-11, with 58 percent saying they’re not sure, or sympathize equally with both.

Thanks to Annie Robbins.

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amazing statistics. kinds blows the idea of what “most jews” think (at least here in the bay area) right out of the water. especially this in the 18-to-34 yr-old demographic: Only 40 percent of the young are “comfortable with the idea of a Jewish state.” the implication being, 60% are… Read more »

Slow, slow, and not all that positive for Palestinians. A long, tough row to hoe, here.

Marvelous! I don’t think even Frank Luntz could spin this to Israel’s favor. People complain about millennials, but I love ’em.

I’ve been following this since Jesse Jackson and Hymietown and at the time, particularly with his successes 4 years later in the early primaries, it seemed that the democratic party was moving in an antizionist direction in a big way. It didn’t happen. I think the best thing that happened… Read more »

my zionist cousin says the democratic party already abandoned israel by not attending netanyahu’s speech and backing the iran deal. san francisco is a useful measure of the so called grass roots progressive wing of the democratic party. the bifurcation of american jews into orthodox versus intermarrieds, with a small… Read more »