Results of an in-depth research survey, which found that 92% of Israeli youth are proud to be Israeli, were announced for the first time on Thursday, timed for the same week as Jerusalem Day.
The results were presented at the tenth conference of the "Masa Yisraeli" educational project, which was attended by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, and Education Minister Shai Piron.
The new research was conducted over the course of the years 2009 to 2014, and surveyed 6,312 Israeli youths from 29 different schools, including secular and religious state schools. The youths took part in week-long tours around Israel as part of the "Masa Yisraeli" project.
Questions relating to the connection to the state of Israel, the nation and land of Israel, as well as to Israeli society and Jewish identity, were explored in the survey, which was conducted among youths both before and after the tour.
After the tour, 92% reported being proud to be an Israeli, 94% were in favor of giving meaningful national or military service to the state, and 91% said they loved the country.
Even among students who responded positively in support of the country before the trip, the tour significantly raised their feeling of connection and identity as part of the Jewish state.
In terms of the identity of the nation and land of Israel, 84% placed importance in wanting to know the history of the people of Israel and Zionism more, 90% felt a connection to the Jewish people, while 90% recognized the importance of the Jewish people having a state specifically in the land of Israel.
Social connection was also emphasized, as 93% were in favor of cooperation for the sake of the general community, and 86% felt proud to be part of the social community.
90% proud to be a Jew
In terms of Jewish identity, 90% said they were proud to be a Jew, 81% felt a connection to Judaism, 74% felt a connection to the Kotel (Western Wall), and 76% stated their will to learn more about the Jewish culture and tradition.
Speaking at the conference, Ya'alon said the project "gives youth an opportunity to stop for a second, to look in the mirror, and to look inside," adding that it "gives them tools to understand what it is to be a Jew, what the Jewish nation is."
"A society that sanctifies life and not death has a better chance to succeed. One that prefers and acts for health, and deals with the sick, has a better chance to succeed. One that places importance on freedom, and not oppression and slavery, has a better chance to succeed," emphasized Ya'alon.
Ya'alon noted the importance of knowing "where we came from" as the base for taking responsibility and succeeding.
Uri Cohen, CEO of the "Masa Yisraeli" project, noted that the survey results were important given that they provide an indication of the coming generation of leaders in the state of Israel.