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Israelis Support Relationship with Diaspora Jewry, Pollster Finds

Asked whether they would put their tax money into programs for Diaspora Jews to have an Israel experience, Israelis overwhelmingly responded in the affirmative, public opinion researcher Mitchell Barak told the Hadassah Centennial Convention at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

Barak, head of the Keevoon Research, Strategy and Communications firm, who has been studying Israeli public opinion for eight years, found that more than 80 percent of Israelis polled supported their government funding programs such as Birthright and Masa which bring young Jews to Israel to connect them with their heritage and build their commitment to the Jewish state.

Barak shared some of his other findings, such as the one that indicates that many ethnically Sephardic Israelis do not identify as such and do not necessarily support Sephardic politicians.

"The US will have a second black president before Israel has a Sephardic prime minister," Barak predicted.

Barak's research found that the Israeli public is more outraged by military than civilian casualties of war, which he believed explained Israel's tolerance for the shelling of its southern communities from Gaza.

"Stopping the shelling would put soldiers at risk and the public is less willing to do that than allow the shelling to continue to endanger the civilian population," he concluded.

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