WASHINGTON - The connection Jews feel to Israel remains strong, according to a new survey from the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University: Some 63% of respondents said they feel connected to Israel while 75% said that caring about what happened in Israel was an important part of their Jewish identity.
Recently, many have cast doubt on the connection between US Jews and Israel after Israel's Gaza incursion Operation Cast Lead, the Gaza blockade and the takeover of the Gaza aid flotilla in which nine Turkish activists were killed. However, the survey authors say US Jews are "still connected" to the State of Israel.
The survey was carried out last month with the assumption that recent developments had alienated young American Jews from Israel, but the results speak for themselves. Though the number of young Jews who say they see Israel as an important part of their Jewish identities is greater than those who say they feel a connection to Israel, the researchers said this distinction has been made in surveys for 24 years, and in fact, nothing has changed.
Even if Jews have more liberal attitudes today, there is no correlation between their political views and the connection they feel to Israel. The survey also confirms the importance of the Taglit (Birthright) organization, which funds trips for young Jews to Israel, noting that the trip has an influence on those who feel the connection.
According to the study, the IDF raid on the Turkish flotilla had little effect when attitudes to Israel are compared with the results of a survey from last summer.
Regarding the relationship between Israel and the US, some 52% were satisfied, 39% said the relationship was insufficient, and 9% thought it was too good. Younger Jews tended to see the relationship as satisfactory.
As the negotiations between Israel and the PA get underway, respondents were also asked how they felt about dismantling settlements in the West Bank. Some 30% said they support the evacuation of some of the settlements and 16% said they support the evacuation of all the settlements, while 28% were opposed to any evacuation of settlements at all.
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