Survey: Younger Jews more attached to Israel

A new survey shows an increased attachment to Israel among non-Orthodox American Jews younger than 35, adding to the notion of a “Birthright Bump,” one of the survey’s leaders said.

The Workmen’s Circle poll found that non-Orthodox Jews younger than 35 are substantially more attached to Israel than those 35 to 44. Jews 45 and older are more attached to Israel than both younger groups.

The Internet survey of 1,000 U.S. Jews was conducted in April and May by Steven M. Cohen of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at NYU and Samuel Abrams of Sarah Lawrence College and Stanford University.

Cohen said the survey shows the cumulative impact of Birthright Israel in bringing so many young Jews to Israel.

“While this finding is the first statistically significant results of its kind, it’s very suggestive and very policy relevant,” he said in a statement. “Should other evidence of a similar nature emerge, we will have mounting support for the notion of what could be called the ‘Birthright Bump.’ ”

Cohen said the bump is a trend upward in Israel attachment for a cohort of young people, due in large part to Birthright trips, which have sent nearly 300,000 Jews ages 18 to 26 to Israel since 2000.

Measuring attachment to the Jewish state was based on two questions: “How emotionally attached are you to Israel?” and “To what extent do you see yourself as pro-Israel?”

“Among those under 35, people in my own age demographic, Jews can be both attached to Israel and assume fairly independent if not skeptical stances toward Israeli government policies,” Abrams said in a statement.

The sample excluded Orthodox and Jewish day school alumni to loosely mirror the Birthright-eligible population. — jta