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Poll Finds Israelis See Themselves As Jews, Zionists; Want More Aliya

A public opinion poll released yesterday showed that the vast majority of Israelis consider themselves part of the Jewish people, define themselves as Zionists and regard aliya as important to the future of the country.

The poll of 1,200 adults of all ages and occupations in Israel’s larger cities and towns, was conducted by Dr. Nina Zermach of the Dahaf Research Institute. It was commissioned by the Zionist Council of Israel, headed by Arye Zimuki, a veteran journalist.

Leon Dulzin, chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Jewish Agency Executives, called the results “a pleasant surprise.” He said they showed that Israel was “not just a Jewish state but a Zionist state.” He and Zimuki agreed that the responses to the poll contrasted sharply with the often negative image “Zionism” evokes in the Israeli media.

According to the poll, 92 percent of the respondents considered aliya “very important” or “important” for Israel’s development; 90. 1 percent agreed with the premise that aliya is one of the purposes for which Israel was founded; 56 percent believed each Israeli family should “adopt” a family of olim.

The survey found that 85 percent of Israelis feel part of the Jewish people to a greater or lesser degree and 90 percent think Israel should be involved in struggles to rescue Jews from lands of oppression; 86 percent of the respondents defined themselves as Zionists.

But the poll results also registered some contradictions. Of the 92 percent who favored aliya, 41 percent indicated that while they want immigration, they do not want olim, reflecting a negative attitude toward individual newcomers.

Another troubling finding was that the highest proportion of Israelis who did not define themselves as Zionists was among the younger, better educated sections of the population.

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