Press Release

ADL Poll: Nearly Two-Thirds of Israelis Feel Society is Divided

Survey Shows Majority of Israeli Public Believes Society Will Continue to be Divided Over Next 30 Years

ADL Graphic-Israel-Social Cohesion

Jerusalem, Israel, October 20, 2017 … Nearly two in three Israelis believe their society today is divided or very divided with a large majority – 75 percent – identifying political leadership as the largest contributor to the nation’s divisiveness, according to a new survey released today by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

The poll of 510 adults, conducted in Hebrew by the Israeli polling company Maagar Mochot, found relatively low levels of confidence among the Israeli public (7 percent) in the nation’s social cohesion.

ADL is releasing the poll results ahead of its inaugural summit on social cohesion, Israel 2048, taking place on October 24 in Tel Aviv. The one-day summit will feature a wide range of Israeli public figures, elected officials, ADL leadership, including CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, and other thought leaders working to change the status quo on this issue.

“While not surprising, the numbers vividly reflect the state of divisiveness in society and are indicative of why efforts to bridge the gaps in Israeli society today are more important than ever before,” said Carole Nuriel, ADL Israel Director. “We must take the findings seriously by honing in on the issues that contribute most to division, and at the same time, work to amplify areas of unity.

“It is incumbent upon leadership across the board – political, religious, ethnic as well as the private sector -- to not only internalize these results but to take tangible collaborative steps towards changing this course,” Ms. Nuriel said. “ADL aims to support Israeli efforts to heal the growing rifts between varying demographics and to start creating a social vision for Israel 2048.”

Some of the major findings include:

Division of Israeli Society:

  • 64% - Divided or Very Divided

  • 27% - Not Divided or Cohesive

  • 7% - Cohesive or Very Cohesive

  • 2% - Don’t Know 

What Israeli Society Will Look Like in 30 Years (when Israel turns 100):

  • 57% - Divided or Very Divided (less than today)

  • 16% - Not Divided or Cohesive (less than today)

  • 13% - Cohesive or Very Cohesive (almost double the percentage today)

  • 14% - Don’t Know 

Factor Contributing Most to Divisions and Unity:


  • 75% - Political Leadership

  • 73% - Traditional Media Outlets


  • 63% - The IDF 

Most Important Element in Self-Identity (scale of 1-5):

  • Nationality – 3.81

  • Religious affiliation – 3.37

  • Gender – 3.05 

Support For Maintaining Arabic as Official Second Language:

  • 51% - Yes

  • 32% - No 

Diaspora Jewry Involvement in Decision Making on Domestic Israeli Matters:

  • 51% -  Little or Very Little

  • 27% - Moderate

  • 12% - Significant or Very Significant 

“For 40 years, ADL has worked tirelessly to build strong Israel-Diaspora understanding and to foster relationships and build bridges across all sectors of Israeli society,” said Sharon Nazarian, Senior Vice President of International Affairs. “We hope the release of the survey - coupled with the upcoming summit - will generate additional attention to this issue.”