J.J. Goldberg

Poll: Israelis Ask US Jews' Views. Headline: Not!

By J.J. Goldberg

  • Print
  • Share Share
Israelity Blog
Broken telephone…

Here’s a kind of wonderfully dopey news item that appeared in the Jerusalem Post last week and then was reposted at The Tablet. That is, the news itself was perfectly legitimate, but the reporting and headlines—that is, the part that will stick in the mind of your average reader—was something else.

The news: Israelis were polled on the question of whether or not Israel’s leaders should take into account the views of American Jews on the peace process. The responses broke down roughly in thirds: 31.9% said “not at all,” 33.6% said “to a small extent” and 31% said “to a great extent” (that last was divided into 21.6% “to a great extent” and 9.4% “to a very great extent). If I remember my 4th Grade arithmetic, that comes to roughly two-thirds (64.6%) saying “yes” and one-third (31.9%) saying “no.” Logically, then, the headline and lead paragraph should inform us that Israelis, by a two-to-one margin, want their government to take the views of American Jews into account to a greater or lesser extent. Make sense?

You’d think. In fact, the June 18 headline in the Jerusalem Post headline read: “32% of Israelis believe US Jews should stay out of peace process.” The lead paragraph read:

Most Israelis think the government should totally or mostly disregard US Jewry’s positions on the peace process and religious affairs, according to a poll released Monday.

Tablet was even better. Its June 21 headline read: “Israelis to U.S. Jews: Stay Out of Peace Process.”

A subheading beneath it read: “Poll reveals Israelis don’t want leaders considering American Jews’ positions.” The lead sentence (with a link to the Jerusalem Post article) read: “A new poll reveals that Israelis would prefer American Jews mind their own business.” It went on to quote the Jerusalem Post’s figures.

Think I’m misreading the poll’s results? Consider this: The poll found that 66.3% of Israelis see the American Jewish community “as having a very or somewhat positive influence on Israel’s national security,” according to the post. That’s roughly the same number that wants their government to take American Jewish views into account.

The Post reported that the poll

was conducted by Teleseker and commissioned by The Ruderman Family Foundation, which seeks to strengthen relationships between Israel and the US Jewish community, ahead of the launch of a Knesset caucus led by MK Nachman Shai (Labor).

That’s the same Nachman Shai who won fame as the voice of the IDF on CNN during the first Gulf War and later became head of the Israel office of what’s now the Jewish Federations of North America. He’s now a Labor party Knesset member.

Also from the Post story:

On religious issues, such as conversion or the government’s relations with the Conservative and Reform movements, 24% of Israelis were against taking US Jewry’s positions into account, and 30.6% said they should be considered to a small extent. Still, Israelis are more willing to accept input from American Jews on religious issues than on the peace process, with 25.1% saying it should be taken into account to a great extent and 15.2% responding to a very great extent.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: The Ruderman Family Foundation, Teleseker, Tablet, Public Opinion, Nachman Shai, Jerusalem Post, Israel-Diaspora Relations

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.