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Australian Jews four times more likely to receive support than hate

Australian Jews received support from non-Jews after October 7 and felt sympathy for both Israelis and Palestinians in the early weeks of the Israel-Hamas War.
Deborah Stone
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Australia harmony

Illustration: TJI

Published: 30 May 2024

Last updated: 14 June 2024

The Jewish experience of non-Jewish Australia in the early days of the Israel-Hamas War was overwhelmingly positive.

A survey of Australian Jews conducted in November found 83% said that non-Jewish friends and acquaintances had reached out to them with messages of sympathy.

At the other end of the spectrum, 20% had experienced an insult or harassment because they were Jewish, rising to 43% among those aged 18 to 29 years. A similar proportion (22%) said they had become less open about being Jewish in public since the beginning of the war.

The survey of 7,611 Australian Jewish adultswas conducted between November 10 and 17, a month after the Hamas massacre and three weeks after Israel launched its response in Gaza. Communal leaders have had results from the survey since January but the results were only released to the public this week.

Concern for both Israelis and Palestinians

The survey found Australian Jews felt overwhelming sympathy for Israel and almost as much concern for Palestinians.

The vast majority (91%) felt ‘very much’ concerned for the lives of Israelis and 79% felt ‘somewhat’ or ‘very much’ concerned about the lives of Palestinians in Gaza.

Almost everyone surveyed said they were following the news about the Israel-Hamas War either very closely (79%) or fairly closely (19%).

High levels of anxiety

The survey found a high level of concern about antisemitism with 64% respondents believing antisemitism was ‘very much’ a big problem in Australia.

The survey found 78% of respondents felt upset "on a daily basis" by social media content in the early days of the war, 54% felt offended and 38% felt frightened.

Hostility to Israel was a particularl problem for university students, with two-thirds (68%) saying they had personally encountered hostility towards Israel from other students and 46% saying they had experienced it from university lecturers and staff.

Australian Jews in the Shadow of the War was conducted by Adina Bankier-Karp from the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation (ACJC) at Monash University and David Graham from the Jewish Communal Appeal.

About the author

Deborah Stone

Deborah Stone is Editor-in-Chief of TJI. She has more than 30 years experience as a journalist and editor, including as a reporter and feature writer on The Age and The Sunday Age, as Editor of the Australian Jewish News and as Editor of ArtsHub.

Comments2

  • Avatar of Diane Armstrong

    Diane Armstrong2 June at 03:49 am

    That’s very comforting but I’d be interested to know how many people support Israel now

  • Avatar of Vivi Ruth

    Vivi Ruth1 June at 01:47 am

    As the war in Gazza drags on sentiments change. The number of pro Palestinian and anti-Semitic slogans appearing in the Northern Rrivers area of Australia has greatly increased. It’s true that many people supported Israel directly after 7 October. Nine months later with the endless displaying, of the results of Israel’s bombardment in Gaza, people’s views are changing. What the general public is seeing is often very skewed but the images are graphic and having the desired effect. Hamas could never win this war militarily but that’s not its goal.
    It’s goal is to win the “ Hasbara” war (the information war) and it’s doing that very effectively – sadly 😞 thereby turning opinion against Israel

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