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Nearly 40% of US ultra-Orthodox Jews considering Aliyah

Involving 585 US Jews, the survey revealed a nuanced and multifaceted picture of a community deeply connected to and impacted by the events in Israel.

By Zvika Klein, December 8, 2023

Amid escalating antisemitism, nearly 40% of ultra-Orthodox Jews in the United States considered Aliyah to Israel, as revealed by a survey conducted by the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) and the World Zionist Organization (WZO). 

The survey, published on Thursday, also showed that the general orthodox Jewish community shared similar sentiments, with 35% contemplating Aliyah. Their proactive stance against antisemitism was further highlighted by 26% considering joining a defense league, and 31% exercising more caution in displaying Jewish symbols.

In the Conservative Jewish segment, 16% considered Aliyah, indicating that concerns about safety and identity transcended denominational lines. Additionally, 21% were open to joining a defense league, and 27% were more careful about publicly displaying Jewish symbols.

The response among Reform Jews underscored the pervasive nature of these concerns. While 11% considered Aliyah, a significant 26% were willing to join a defense league, and an even larger 41% exercised increased caution about wearing Jewish symbols, reflecting an acute awareness of their surroundings.

Jews with no specific stream affiliation were not insulated from these concerns, with 22% contemplating Aliyah and 23% willing to join a defense league. A noticeable 31% of this group were more mindful of their public display of Jewish identity.

Threats felt by American Jewish communities

Another key finding is the decrease in the sense of personal threat among US Jews, despite initial heightened fears. However, the concern for safety has prompted notable changes in behavior, with a third of respondents being more cautious about wearing Jewish symbols, indicating a pervasive sense of vulnerability.

The survey further revealed that political orientation greatly influences views on Israel's actions in Gaza. A substantial number of very liberal Jews perceive Israel as too aggressive, contrasting with the opinion among conservative Jews, who tend to believe Israel's response is not aggressive enough.

Discussions about the war during family gatherings, such as Thanksgiving, were common and mostly conducted without arguments. However, there were instances of tension, and some families avoided the topic to prevent conflict. The survey also pointed to a decline in the positive assessment of Israeli public messaging, especially among very liberal Jews, suggesting a shift in perspectives and possibly a growing critique of Israel’s communication strategies.

Involving 585 US Jews, the survey revealed a nuanced and multifaceted picture of a community deeply connected to and impacted by the events in Israel.

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