American and Israeli Jews, Compared

Following its much-discussed survey of American Jewry from 2013, the Pew Research Center conducted a similar survey of Israeli Jews. Herewith, a comparison of the two communities based on the results of these surveys, accompanied by video interviews with both experts and ordinary Jews:

[A]lthough Israeli Jews are—on the whole—more religious than American Jews, that’s not the whole story. Because 22 percent of Israeli Jews are Orthodox and an even larger number are secular, Israel has a more religiously polarized Jewish public than America does.

For example, while proportionately there are more Israeli Jews than American Jews who attend synagogue weekly (27 percent vs. 11 percent), there also are more Israeli Jews than American Jews who never attend synagogue (33 percent vs. 22 percent). . . .

Jews in the U.S. and Israel also differ on what “being Jewish” means to them, personally. While both groups largely agree that remembering the Holocaust is vital to their Jewish identity, Americans are far more likely than Israelis to say that pursuing ethics, morality, and justice in society, as well as displaying “intellectual curiosity” and having a “good sense of humor,” are essential to what being Jewish means to them. Israeli Jews, meanwhile, more commonly highlight observance of Jewish law and a connection to Jewish history, culture, or community. . . .

Jewish Americans feel a strong emotional connection with the Jewish state: a solid majority say they are either “very” or “somewhat” attached to Israel and that caring about Israel is either “essential” or “important” to what being Jewish means to them. The connection is felt both ways: most Israeli Jews say Jewish Americans have a good impact on the way things are going in Israel. In addition, most Israeli Jews say that a thriving Diaspora is vital to the long-term survival of the Jewish people and that Jews in the two countries share a “common destiny.”

Read more at Pew Forum

More about: American Jewry, American Judaism, Israel & Zionism, Israel and the Diaspora, Jewish World

Hamas Won’t Compromise with the Palestinian Authority, and Gazans Won’t Overthrow Hamas

July 24 2017

Since the terrorist organization Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, much of Israeli strategy toward it has stemmed from the belief that, if sufficient pressure is applied, the territory’s residents will rise up against it. Yaakov Amidror argues this is unlikely to happen, and he also doubts that improved living conditions for ordinary Gazans would deter Hamas from terrorism or war:

The hardships experienced by the Strip’s residents, no matter how terrible, will not drive them to stage a coup to topple Hamas. The organization is entrenched in Gaza and is notorious for its brutality toward any sign of dissidence, and the Palestinians know there is no viable alternative waiting for an opportunity to [take over].

[Therefore], it is time everyone got used to the idea that Hamas is not about to relinquish its dominant position in the Gaza Strip, let alone concede to the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas. . . . [Yet the] assumption is also baseless that if Gaza experiences economic stability and prosperity, Hamas would refrain from provoking hostilities. This misconception is based on the theory that Hamas operates by governmental norms and prioritizes the needs and welfare of its citizens. This logic does not apply to Hamas. . . .

[Hamas’s] priorities are to bolster its military power and cement its iron grip. This is why all the supplies Israel allows into Gaza on a daily basis to facilitate normal life have little chance of reaching the people. Hamas first and foremost takes care of its leaders and makes sure it has what it needs to sustain its terror-tunnel-digging enterprise and its weapon-production efforts. It then sees to the needs of its members, and then—and only then—what little is left is diverted to rehabilitation efforts that benefit the population.

This is why the argument that Israel is responsible for Gaza’s inability to recover from its plight is baseless. Hamas is the one that determines the priorities by which to allocate resources in the enclave, and the more construction materials that enter Gaza, the easier and faster it is for Hamas to restore its military capabilities. Should Israel sacrifice its own security on the altar of Gazans’ living conditions? I don’t think so.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security