Almost 40% of Israelis Mulling Emigration in Protest of Judicial Reform
The Jewish People Policy Institute’s (JPPI) 2023 Annual Assessment reveals a startling statistic: 37% of Israelis are contemplating or planning emigration due to escalating societal crises. A parallel survey conducted among American Jews depicts widespread anxiety about Israel’s worsening issues. This figure reflects a significant increase in discomfort among Israelis living in their own country, with the discomfort level surging from 20% to 32% within just one year.
Israel’s Internal Struggles
Despite remarkable progress in Israel’s economy, military power, and political standing, the report emphasizes the need for ‘courageous leadership’ to resolve divisive issues and mend rifts within the Jewish community. Concurrently, Israelis’ comfort levels in their homeland have seen a marked decrease over the past year. The percentage of those feeling uncomfortable has risen from 20% to 32%, while those who do feel comfortable have dwindled from 76% to 65%. Even right-wing supporters, traditionally a more cohesive group, have seen their comfort levels decrease from 55% in February 2023, to 43% in July.
American Jews’ Anxiety Over Israel’s Crises
In a survey among American Jews regarding their feelings toward the political and social crisis in Israel, the dominant response was anxiety, regardless of their ideological and political scales. Among those who defined themselves as ‘very liberal,’ 19% said they felt disgust and among those who defined themselves as ‘center,’ 21% expressed bewilderment. Among those who identified as Conservatives and Reform, 24% expressed anger toward the current crisis in Israel.
Israel’s Future: Depend on the Outcome
When asked how the events in Israel would affect their attitude towards the country, the responses varied depending on their religious and political affiliations. Orthodox and Conservative respondents predominantly believed that there would be no change in their attitude towards Israel, viewing their connection as unwavering. However, among Reform and Jews not affiliated with any specific religious stream, the dominant response was ‘depends on the outcome.’ Even among a third of Conservative and nearly a quarter of Orthodox respondents, the answer was ‘depends on the outcome.’
Israel’s Achievements Amidst Challenges
Despite the significant challenges outlined in the JPPI Annual Assessment, it is crucial to acknowledge the remarkable progress Israel achieved in its 75th year of independence. The nation demonstrated substantial growth on multiple fronts, including its economy, military prowess, and political standing. Israel has cemented its position as a regional power with a resilient economy and it continues to foster increased cooperation with neighboring and regional countries, offering a glimmer of hope amidst the complex issues it faces.
Leadership in Times of Crisis
The report also underscored the need for courageous leadership to address these divisive issues and heal the rifts within the Jewish community, both in Israel and abroad. The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) is an independent center of thought and planning focused on shaping strategy and policy for the Jewish people, both in Israel and the Diaspora. According to Prof. Yedidia Stern, the President of JPPI, “The dramatic change in 2023 is that for the first time in our history, it is evident that the dispute over Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state is tearing apart our covenant of unity and common destiny, creating rifts within it.”
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