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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

 

Israel’s Economy Thrives While the Middle East Disintegrates

Jan. 19 2018

Now that the data have come in from 2017, it is clear that the Israeli economy had another successful year, expanding at a rate higher than that of any other advanced country. Israel’s per-capita GDP also grew, placing it above those of France and Japan. Daniel Kryger notes some of the implications regarding the Jewish state’s place in the Middle East:

The contrast between first-world Israel and the surrounding third-world Arab states is larger today than ever before. Israel’s GDP per capita is almost twenty times the GDP per capita of impoverished Egypt and five times larger than semi-developed Lebanon.

Like any human project, Israel is a never-ending work in progress and much work remains to integrate ḥaredi Jews and Israeli Arabs into Israel’s knowledge economy. Properly addressing Israel’s high costs of living requires more economic and legislative reforms and breaking up inefficient oligopolies that keep the prices artificially high. However, by any standard, the reborn Jewish state is a remarkable success story. . . .

Much has changed since OPEC launched its oil embargo against the West after the failed Arab aggression against Israel in October 1973. Before the collapse of the pro-Arab Soviet empire, China and India had no official ties with Israel and many Western and Japanese companies avoided doing business with Israel. Collapsing oil prices have dramatically eroded the power of oil-producing countries. It has become obvious that the future belongs to those who innovate, not those who happen to sit on oil. Israel has today strong commercial ties with China and a thriving partnership with India. Business delegations from Jamaica to Japan are eager to do business with Israel and benefit from Israel’s expertise. . . .

[For its part], the boycott, divest, and sanction (BDS) movement may bully Jewish and pro-Israel students on Western campuses. However, in real life, BDS stands no chance of succeeding against Israel. The reason is simple: reborn Israel has . . . become too valuable a player in the global economy.

Read more at Mida

More about: BDS, Israel & Zionism, Israeli economy, Middle East, OPEC