According to a new poll from the Pew Research Center, while the majority of Jews identify as Democrat, three out of four Orthodox Jews identify as Republican. Overall, three out of four Orthodox Jews experienced at least some form of antisemitism in the past year, more than non-religious Jews.
The Pew poll “surveyed 4,718 U.S. adults who identify as Jewish, including 3,836 Jews by religion and 882 Jews of no religion. The survey was administered online and by mail by Westat, from Nov. 19, 2019, to June 3, 2020.”
Compared with older Jews, young Jews are increasingly becoming more Orthodox. Only three percent of Jews over 65 identify as Orthodox, while 17 percent of Jews between the ages of 18 and 29 claim to be Orthodox. While some Jews become more religious on their own, birthrate also is a large factor. Pew explains, “Orthodox Jewish adults report having an average of 3.3 children, while non-Orthodox Jews have an average of 1.4 children.”
The number of Jews in America is increasing as well. In 2013, 6.7 million Jews lived in America. In 2o20, they grew to 7.5 million.
In regards to former President Donald Trump, 94 percent of Orthodox Jews viewed him friendly toward Israel, while 77 percent viewed him as friendly toward American Jews in general.
Looking at how Orthodox Jews view political parties alone, 60 percent see Republicans as friendly toward Jews in America, yet only 22 percent view the Democrat Party as friendly and 35 percent view Democrats as unfriendly.
Compared to another Pew survey, Orthodox Jews identify as Republican more frequently than white Catholics or white Protestants, but white Evangelicals still take the lead for being part of the Republican Party. According to Pew, “83% of white evangelicals identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, as do 64% of white Protestants who are not evangelical and 65% of white Catholics.”
While nearly three-quarters of Jews disapproved of Trump’s job performance, more Orthodox Jews approved of Trump’s job performance than U.S. white Evangelicals, 81 percent to 77 percent, respectively.
Orthodox Jews do report experiencing the bulk of antisemitism; 75 percent say they have experienced at least one form of antisemitism compared to 51 percent of all Jews. This includes seeing anti-Jewish graffiti or vandalism, being made to feel unwelcome, called offensive names, harassed online, or physically threatened or attacked. Notably, Orthodox Jews visibly stand out as men wear small hats called kippot, and ultra-Orthodox Jewish men may wear a long black coat and formal black hat. Some married Orthodox women may cover their hair.
Orthodox Jews are reportedly under attack more frequently than their less religious counterparts but are overwhelmingly Republican and often view Democrats as unfriendly toward Jews. This is contrary to the common narrative antisemitism is prevalent in the GOP.
Rabbi David Bashevkin, who directs NCSY, a major Orthodox youth group, told the Washington Post, “I think what we see in this generation is it’s kind of cool to be Orthodox. I think [Donald] Trump awakened the Orthodox community to their own political power and they don’t need to be embarrassed to wield it. It’s that chutzpah he embodied.”
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