ADL Poll: In 2014 More Israeli Teens Encountered Hate on the Internet

Jerusalem, December 2, 2014 … Jewish teenagers in Israel are more likely to encounter hate on the Internet in the form of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel expression than they were a year ago, according to a new survey of Israeli teens by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

And Israeli teens reported that the online attacks and anti-Semitic expressions increased noticeably during Operation Protective Edge in summer 2014, when Israel’s military struck back against Hamas rockets, tunnels and terrorism in Gaza.

The survey found Israeli teens were increasingly likely to be attacked due to their nationality, with more than half (51 percent) of all teens having encountered attacks because they are from Israel.  And nearly 83 percent of all Israeli Jewish teens reported exposure to anti-Semitism online, including hate symbols, websites, and messages found on social media and in videos and music.

The poll of 500 Jewish teens, ages 15-18, was conducted in Hebrew in November 2014 by the Israeli polling company Geocartography. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.

“The more teenagers in Israel are using the Internet to connect with friends and share social updates, the more they are coming into contact with haters and bigots who want to expose them to an anti-Israel or anti-Semitic message,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “But Israeli teens do not feel powerless to act. In fact, a significant majority of those polled indicated that they had initiated action to respond to anti-Semitic content by reporting it to administrators or requesting its removal.”

Among the key findings of the poll, commissioned by ADL’s Israel Office:

  • Jewish teens in Israel are routinely exposed to anti-Semitic content, and the level of exposure is growing.  Nearly 83 percent of those polled indicated they had been exposed to anti-Semitism on the Internet, compared to 69 percent last year.
  • Teenagers in Israel often encounter attacks because they self-identify as Israelis.  This year, 51 percent reported being attacked on basis of nationality, compared to 36 percent last year.  In the current poll, 37 percent of teens reported being cursed on the grounds of their nationality; 32 percent were blocked from using certain pages and web sites; and 9 percent were banned from different online forums because they were identified as being Israeli.
  • Israel’s summer 2014 operation in Gaza led to an increase in attacks on teens on the Internet.  The poll found that 61 percent of teens reported more exposure to online anti-Semitism during and after Operation Protective Edge than “during regular days.”
  • Another 58 percent of teens reported being attacked more regularly on the Internet because of their Israeli nationality during and after Operation Protective Edge compared to normal times.

Anti-Semitism on Social Media

While Israeli teens are less likely to encounter anti-Semitism on Web sites (only 38 percent said they had encountered anti-Semitism on web sites, compared to 46 percent last year), they were much more likely to encounter anti-Semitism on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The survey found that 84 percent of Israeli teens encountered anti-Semitism in status updates or tweets, an increase from 70 percent in the previous survey. Another 76 percent said they had been exposed to anti-Semitic content on social network pages.

Fighting Back

Those Israeli teens who did encounter hatred online were more inclined to respond, according to the survey.  This year, 65 percent of the teens indicated having taken action in order to stop the posting of hateful content, with 43 percent saying they had sent a report to site administrators of social media and websites to request removal of the offensive content; 24 percent said they had written comments criticizing anti-Semitic content; 21 percent of those polled have asked friends to address the web site or social media administrators to request removal of the offensive content; and 21 percent said they “told their parents” about the content.

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