Press Release – 1 September 2009

ZCV welcomes Jewish Population Survey report

Statement from Dr Danny Lamm

Professor Andrew Markus and the team responsible for the initiation and implementation of the Jewish Population Survey are to be congratulated and thanked. Their work will provide the empirical information we have long been lacking in our community to enable Jewish communal organisations to plan for the future. It gives us a comprehensive picture of not only the composition of our community, but their affiliations and importantly, their attitudes.

The data which has emerged in relation to attitudes to Israel and Zionism are extremely important for us in the Zionist Council of Victoria, and indeed for the Zionist movement and all our organisations.

As has been reported, 80% of respondents across Melbourne and Sydney identified themselves as Zionists – a figure which was relatively consistent and high across age groups. The proportion of people who expressed concern or alarm when Israel is in danger is similarly high across all age groups, strengthening this finding. Indeed, the statistic that only 2% of Melbourne respondents (Sydney 5%) reported that they didn’t keep up with events in Israel at all points to a community which cares for Israel, engages with Israel and confirms the anecdotal and intuitive understandings of many years that we are a strongly Zionist community.

The findings also demonstrate very clearly the positive impact of youth movements, which are predominantly Zionist, in the development of Jewish identity and Jewish continuity.

The data reports present a strong endorsement for the leadership of the Jewish and Zionist community over successive generations. Our community leadership has developed four strong, Zionist focused Jewish schools in Melbourne, which, as the report states are the “key issue for the future of Jewish life in Australia”. Zionist youth movements are active and effective. The Zionist movement, through the respective state councils (eg the ZCV in Victoria) and the Zionist Federation of Australia actively lead the community in support of Israel, and the leadership of the peak bodies in both large states – ie the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry federally, identify strongly with Israel.

The consequence of this strong commitment within the community and its organisations no doubt contributes directly towards the very positive and supportive attitudes of successive state and federal governments towards Israel and the Jewish community.

Challenges have been presented to us as well. There will no doubt be much work and thought based on the survey outcomes and a priority for the Zionist movement to invigorate the activism of those who have expressed support for Zionism and Israel, and to engage those who did not.

For more information contact:
Dr Danny Lamm – President, Zionist Council of Victoria 0408 408 929
Ginette Searle – Executive Director, Zionist Council of Victoria 9272 5544; 0412 251 343
The Zionist Council of Victoria leads and encourages Jewish and Zionist activity and expression within Victoria, to represent the Jewish community, to promote and communicate Israel’s interests within the broader Victorian community and to promote Victoria’s relationship with Israel. For more information, visit the Zionist Council of Victoria website www.zionismvictoria.org.au