Young Israelis: A Turn to the Right

New York Review of Books: “For the last two or three years, we’ve been seeing a very consistent trend of younger Israelis becoming increasingly right-wing,” Dahlia Scheindlin, a public opinion analyst who also contributes to +972, told me. Last year, Scheindlin carried out a survey on behalf of the Kulanana Shared Citizenship Initiative that showed eroding support for democratic values among Israeli youth, at least insofar as the rights of non-Jews go. One question in the survey asked whether there should be “Equal access to state resources, equal opportunities [for] all citizens.” Among Jewish respondents between the ages of 16-29, a mere 43 percent agreed.

Young Israelis also tend to take a hard line on the Palestinian conflict. Having watched their country grow increasingly isolated for prolonging an occupation now in its forty-fourth year, one might expect the younger generation to be pressing for a resolution. But while a small number of young activists have been taking part in regular Friday protests against the expansion of settlements in Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem and joining groups like Anarchists Against the Wall, which supports unarmed Palestinian resistance to the occupation, many of their peers oppose making concessions to end the conflict. In October, a poll conducted by New Wave Research asked, “If Palestinians and Israelis reach an agreement… and the Israeli government brings the agreement to a referendum, would you vote for or against?” Among voters over 55, 61 percent—nearly two out of three—said they would support a deal. Among those younger than 35, it was the opposite: only one in three (37 percent) would vote in favor of an agreement.

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