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Israeli education crisis!

Quick, convene a conference, someone is falling down on the job: “Israeli Teens Don’t Fear Another Holocaust.”

Oh, false alarm. According to the new ADL survey in question, a majority of Israeli teens do think their country is under “serious threat” of destruction.

Here’s the full press release:

Jerusalem, April 30, 2008 … On the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day and Israel’s 60th anniversary, a new survey of Israeli teenagers issued by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found that most do not believe another Holocaust against the Jewish people could take place. But a majority thinks Israel is under “serious threat” of destruction.

The telephone survey of 500 teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17 conducted in late March also queried their feelings about traveling to Poland to learn about the Holocaust by visiting historic sites and former Nazi concentration camps. The poll found that while the trip had a profound impact on the vast majority of teens who participated, those who opted not to go cited “a lack of finances” and “lack of interest.”

A growing number of Israeli youth – 30% – believe that “Israel is under a serious threat of destruction” compared to 24% in 2007, while 52% said they believe “Israel is under “a certain threat of destruction,” a slight decline from 59% in 2007.

On the question of whether “a second Holocaust of the Jewish people is possible or not,” 9% said there was a real possibility, compared to 6% in 2007; 30% said there was a certain possibility, and 59% said a second Holocaust was not possible.

While most teens still relate to anti-Semitism as an historic event, there was a significant increase in awareness of contemporary anti-Semitic manifestations, to include current issues such as “Iran, Arabs and terror” – 27%, compared to 9% in 2007.

“Israeli teenagers understand anti-Semitism in the context of history and not as something they might encounter in their daily lives. Yet there is a growing awareness of contemporary anti-Semitism and threats to Israel’s existence,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “As the YouTube generation, they are much more aware of attacks on Jews and the Jewish State.”

The survey findings were released in Jerusalem by ADL’s Israel Office as a follow-up to a 2007 survey on Anti-Semitism Awareness Among Teenagers in Israel.

Among the main survey findings were:
* 91% of teenagers have an awareness of global anti-Semitism.
* 69% believe that Israel should react to any cases of anti-Semitism around the world.
* Teenagers are less likely than adults to perceive foreign criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic.
* 80% have never encountered anti-Semitism. The average Israeli teen says they only have a small or reasonable amount of knowledge and tools to react in the face of anti-Semitism.
* Schools by far are the major source of awareness of anti-Semitism, but half of those polled said they should be learning more.
* Two-thirds said they plan to participate in a trip to Poland, but less than 10% actually go; More than 70% of those said that the journey strengthened their ties to the Jewish people.
* 30% said they had no awareness of acts against Jewish institutions in Israel. Of those who did, half saw them as anti-Semitic attacks, while the rest saw it as vandalism, acts to gain attention, or adjustment problems. Those who visited Poland were more likely not to see them as anti-Semitic acts.

Survey Highlights
When asked, “What comes to your mind when you hear the term ‘anti-Semitism?'” close to 50 associations were given. The most common answers included: Holocaust (32%), Nazis (26%), Germany (17%), Iran (14%), hatred of Jews (13%), infinite hatred (10%), Jews (9%), racism (8%), Hitler (8%), Arabs (7%), France (4%), and terror (2%).

The poll found that 65% of teenagers said school was their source of knowledge about anti-Semitism, down from 76% in 2007. Thirty-nine percent (39%) cited TV programs, 19% cited the Internet, 25% cited newspapers, and 11% cited parents.

Nearly half (48%) of teenagers polled said they saw criticism of Israel as being anti-Semitic, up from 43% in 2007.

When asked, “How should Israel react to manifestations of anti-Semitism?,” 24% said react only in very severe cases, 69% said react in any case, and 6% said not to react in any case. These results were consistent with the 2007 poll.

The poll found that 66% of 16 year olds and 63% of 15 year olds said they planned to participate in a journey to Poland. But when they reach the age of 17, when most trips take place, only 40% said they plan to go and only 17% actually participated.

Among 17 year olds who don’t go to Poland, 31% said it was due to finances, 17% said it was out of fear, 15% cited bad timing, 11% cited lack of interest, and 3% said it was for ideological reasons.

About the Survey
ADL commissioned Market Watch to conduct the 2008 Research Into Anti-Semitism Awareness Among Israeli Teenagers & Adults survey. Telephone interviews were conducted among 500 randomly chosen teenagers between the ages of 15-17 (inclusive) on March 27-28 2008. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4%. A similar survey was conducted in March 2007. A parallel survey of Jewish adults was also conducted for comparison purposes.

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