Young American Jews feel little attachment to Israel

Monday, September 10, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

An overwhelming majority of American Jews under the age of 35 feel no significant connection to Israel, according to the results of a new study published by The Jerusalem Post.

A mere 19 percent of young American Jews who have never visited Israel said they feel any kind of connection to the Jewish state. Liberal American Jewish leaders suggest that what they call Israel's “occupation” of Arab lands, combined with growing government corruption in Jerusalem is turning young Jews off to Israel.

Our “connection is not as strong as that of older generations,” said Molly Umberger, an American Jewish college student whose views are fairly representative of her generation of American Jews. “I look at [Israel] as just another country.”

But there is hope. The study revealed that among young American Jews who have visited Israel at least once, the percentage who feel a connection to their ancestral homeland jumps to 42 percent. That number leaps to 68 percent among young American Jews who spend a semester or more studying in Israel.

Groups such as “birthright israel,” also known as Taglit, are dedicated to bringing as many young American Jews, preferably those of college age, to the Holy Land in order to rekindle the connection felt by past generations. The trips are fully financed by the American Jewish community.

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