Washington (AFP) – Jews in the United States are overwhelmingly proud to be Jewish, yet nearly one in five of them describe themselves as having no religion, according to a Pew Research Center survey published Tuesday.
The gap is generational, with 32 percent of Jewish Millenials identifying as Jewish on the basis of ancestry, ethnicity or culture — compared with 93 percent of Jews born in 1914-27 who identified on the basis of their faith.
“This shift in Jewish self-identification reflects broader changes in the U.S. public,” said Pew’s Religion and Public Life Project in a summary of its 210-page report.
“Americans as a whole — not just Jews — increasingly eschew any religious affiliation,” with 22 percent of all Americans identifying with no particular faith, it said.
Nevertheless, 94 percent of respondents said they were proud to be Jewish, while seven out of 10 felt either very attached or somewhat attached to Israel, a proportion essentially unchanged since the turn of the 21st century, Pew said.
Just 38 percent felt the Israeli government is making sincere efforts towards peace with the Palestinians, while 44 percent thought West Bank settlements harmed Israel’s security interests.
Pew interviewed 3,475 Jewish Americans by telephone from February 20 through June 13 for its study, giving a statistical margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
Release of the findings coincided with a visit to the United States by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.