Poll: Young Secular Israelis Ready to Move Abroad

Ben-Gurion airport. (Reuters)

Ninety-three percent of Israelis ages 18 through 25 who consider themselves secular would have no problem leaving Israel permanently or long-term, a poll taken on behalf of the World Zionist Organization said. The poll was taken for WZO by the Geocartigraphia organization, for a conference on the Jewish future.

Of the secular youth, 75 percent saw themselves as candidates for leaving Israel. Overall, 82 percent of all Israelis of that age were not opposed to the idea. The only group with significant opposition to leaving Israel were those who classified themselves as observant or Orthodox; among that group, 45 percent were “firmly” against leaving Israel, while 25 percent were not opposed.

Youth in Yerushalayim most firmly saw their future in Israel; 54.3 percent of that group said they would not leave Israel. Among residents of the south, 44 percent said they would stay in Israel under all future circumstances. In the rest of the country, two thirds on average said they were prepared to leave Israel if need be. That same percentage – 66 percent – said that one did not have to live in Israel in order to he a Zionist. Meanwhile, 75 percent said that the opinions of Diaspora Jewry did not have to be taken into account when deciding policy.

Commenting on the results of the poll, Gusti Yehoshua Braverman, chairperson of the World Zionist Organization’s Department for Diaspora Activities, said that its purpose was to “try and understand which way the wind is blowing among young people. The debate between Israelis and Diaspora Jews takes an interesting form in this poll, in which the vast majority of Israeli youth do not believe Diaspora opinions need to be taken into account, but where most see themselves as potentially being part of that group and leaving Israel.”