Friedrich Ebert Foundation’s Youth Study reveals Israel’s teens think greatest threat to state is Jewish-Arab conflict, believe less in democratic values. As for who they trust most – IDF gets 93%
A new study examining Jewish and Arab Israeli teens’ opinions on a wide range of issues shows nearly half of Jewish youths support revoking Arab-Israelis’ basic rights.
The study focused on such issues as nationalism, democracy and attitudes towards State institutions.
The results: Israeli teens in 2010 believe less in democracy, are inclined towards rebelliousness and violence, are more racist and some have given up hope for peace. They are also more right-wing and patriotic.
The third Youth Study (previous studies were held in 1998 and 2004) conducted by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in cooperation with the Macro Center for Political Economics examined Israeli teen and youth trends over the past 12 years.
In total, 1,600 teens from two age groups – 15-18 and 21-24 were interviewed.
Each age group included 600 Jewish and 200 Arab interviewees. The study’s conclusions, presented by the Dachaf Public Opinion Research Institute directed by Dr. Mina Tzemach, are available in a book which will be published Thursday.
According to the data, the importance of democracy as a national goal among Israeli teens has dropped from second place in 1998 (26%) to third place in 2010 with just 14.3%. Meanwhile, the importance of “Jewishness” as a national goal has climbed from third place (18.1% in 1998) to first place in 2010 with 26%.
About 60% of Jewish youths prefer “strong leadership” to rule of law and the study reveals that 46% of those asked tended to negate the basic political rights like the right to be elected from Israel’s Arab citizens.
Asked how they feel when they think of Arabs, 25% responded with “hate” and 12% responded with “fear”.
When it comes to State institutions, the IDF received Israeli teens’ virtual complete trust (93%). Surprisingly, the survey shows that more teens trusted politicians in 2010 – from 38% in 1998 to 43% in 2010.
Analysis of the data shows that a majority of Israel’s youth (42%) believe that the Jewish-Arab conflict is the biggest threat to the State of Israel, compared with 23% that claimed that the schism between religious and secular Jews is the most dangerous.
In 1998, the findings were quite different as 44% saw the religious-secular rift as the biggest threat, while only 27% believed that the Jewish-Arab conflict was the most menacing. Researchers believe this shows a process of radicalization within Israeli society.
“It is possible that the combination of years of intifada and its effect on Jews, together with the October 2000 riots and their effect on Arabs, and the increase in nationalistic rhetoric in the political arena over the past few years are behind the perception that this issue is the most threatening to both communities,” the researchers noted.
“There is no doubt that there is a direct tie between this perception and the drop in support for democratic values and equal rights for Arabs.”
Analysis also revealed that the increase in feelings of fear and aversion towards Arabs manifests in political identity. Thus, 13 years ago only 48% of those interviewed defined themselves as right-wing whereas in 2010 the result was 62%.
While in 1998, 32% of the teens defined themselves as left-wing, in 2010 only 12% considered themselves as such.