Israel's young population is becoming more right-wing and more religious: 67 percent of Jewish youth in Israel today define themselves as right-wing, while only 16 percent associate themselves with the left. These are just some of the dramatic findings of a large-scale study conducted among young Israelis, and its results were published in the 7 Days supplement of Yedioth Ahronoth on Friday.
Since 1998, the Macro Center for Political Economics and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung fund in Israel have conducted in-depth studies of Israeli youth (ages 15–18) and young people (21–24) of all sectors in Israel. The current study, the fourth in the series, revealed that while in 1998 nearly half of the country's youth defined themselves as secular and only 9 percent were ultra-Orthodox, now, only 40 percent define themselves as secular while the percentage of Haredim jumped to 15 percent.
The study showed that secular young Jews have never been more pessimistic about their own future and about the state's future than today. While in 2010 85 percent of all young Jews were very confident that their aspirations would be fulfilled in Israel, only 56 percent now believe so.
The Arab youth, on the other hand, are much more optimistic than in the past—74 percent of them believe that they can achieve their goals in Israel.
73.9 percent of Jewish youth believe that the most important problem that the government must deal with is the cost of living. In the event of a conflict between democracy and defense needs, 82 percent of young Jews aged 21–24 will prefer security needs.
The participants were also asked to choose between a number of disputes, the one that most endangers Israeli society today: the dispute between left and right, religious and secular, rich and poor, Jews and Arabs, Ashkenazim and Sephardim. Most of the young people decided that the dispute between Jews and Israeli Arabs was the most dangerous. The ethnic rift, by the way, reached the last place.
The study also showed that teenagers and youth are losing trust in some of the state's institutes, including the courts, the police, the Knesset and even the IDF. Despite the fact that the IDF maintains its place at the top of the public trust list, its status has deteriorated since 2010.
(Translated and edited by N. Elias)