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Youth Becomes More Nationalist

A survey carried out by a German foundation finds that Israel's youth has become more nationalist and does not expect peace.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 3/31/2011, 11:01 AM / Last Update: 3/31/2011, 10:54 AM

Shomron Regional Council

A survey carried out by a German foundation finds that Israel's youth has become more nationalist and does not expect peace.

The Friedrich Ebert Foundation of Germany, aided by the Macro Center for Political Economics in Tel Aviv, has published the results of its third annual Youth Study. The results partly explain why the strength of left-wing and dovish parties such as Meretz and Labor has decreased in recent years and is likely to continue doing so.

The results are being publicized only now, though the survey was carried out last July. Some 1,200 Jewish youths and 400 Arab youths (not from the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas, and not between the ages of 18 and 21) were polled.

The survey shows that a third of Jewish youth in Israel say that Judaism is the most important goal for the State of Israel – up from only 18% a year ago. Only 14.3% of Jewish youth said democracy was Israel's most important objective.

Over 40% of the Jewish youth identify politically with the nationalist parties, with another 20% expressing solidarity with the "moderate" right-wing. Only 11.5% identify with the left-wing.

Among Arab youth, 35% said they "don't know" their political affiliation – approximately four times more than in the Jewish sector.

41% of the Arab youth said their most important goal was to build a happy family, and 3% said it was to contribute to society. Among Jews, it was 65.5% and 8.5%, respectively.

While close to 55% of Jewish youth feel neither positively nor negatively towards Arabs, over 11% feel fear, and 27% said they feel hatred. A total of 15% of Arabs feel either fear or hatred towards Jews.

Nearly three-quarters of Jews felt that security concerns must "always" or "nearly always" take precedence over ideals of democracy if they clash.

How to Protest
Asked how government policies on the peace process may be protested, 27.5% of Jews said they support non-violent protest, and 22.5% said they support violent protest.  In the Arab sector, 42% and 33%, respectively, said they support the two methods.

Orders May be Refused - But Sometimes it Depends Which Ones
The Jewish youth were asked about soldiers' right to refuse orders. 21% of those aged between 15 and 18 (19% among those aged 21-24) said it is acceptable to refuse orders to destroy Jewish towns, but not orders regarding serving in Judea and Samaria; only 4% (2%) said that one may refuse to serve in Judea and Samaria, but not to evict settlers. 40% (31%) said it was OK to refuse in both cases, and 31% (42%) said it was not acceptable in either case.

Negotiations OK, But They Won't Accomplish Much
57% of Jewish youth favor negotiations with the PA, while nearly 40% object. Among Arabs, 51% favor and 46% object. 70% of Jews object to the two-state solution.

Do the youth believe that negotiations will bring peace in the coming years? Over 72% of Jews don't believe so, as do 52.5% of Arabs.