In a recent survey commissioned by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group, findings reveal a heightened sense of insecurity among American Jews in the wake of the Israel-Hamas conflict. The study, conducted between October 29 and November 1, encompassed 2,199 Jewish Americans and 1,578 non-Jewish Americans.
According to the survey, 70% of American Jews express feeling less safe since the commencement of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7, with none reporting an increased sense of safety since that date. A notable 72% of Jewish respondents believe that antisemitism is on the rise in their communities, a perspective shared by only 32% of non-Jewish participants.
The survey also highlights the impact of visible markers of Jewish identity, such as the Star of David or a yarmulke, on individuals’ feelings of security. Those who wear such distinctive items are twice as likely to report feeling worried “all the time” compared to those who do not.
In a noteworthy shift, respondents indicated that antisemitism now surpasses discrimination against any other minority. Almost one-third of participants reported instances of violence or hate against Jews in their communities, describing the atmosphere as “tense,” “uncomfortable,” and “scary.”
Despite these challenges, a majority of American Jews express their intention to contribute to causes supporting Israelis affected by the conflict. Of the 57% who stated they would “probably will” or “definitely will” donate, 78% specified support for Israeli-focused organizations, while 12% indicated willingness to contribute to causes benefiting both Israelis and Palestinians. Significantly, respondents expressed a greater inclination to donate to these causes compared to other disasters.
The survey also shed light on charitable giving patterns, with 45% of Jewish respondents having donated to a “Jewish charity or cause” in the past year. Of these, 90% made contributions either before or before and after October 7, while 10% donated exclusively after the October 7 attack. Notably, 59% of the general population and 87% of Jews voiced support for U.S. military aid to Israel.
A separate survey conducted by the Jewish People Policy Institute on October 18, involving about 600 U.S. Jews, revealed that a majority closely follow the war’s developments, experiencing strong emotions of anger and anxiety for Israel’s safety. Participants overwhelmingly believe that Israel is conducting a more “moral” war compared to other nations.
Approximately 60% of respondents expressed anger and anxiety about the conflict, and around 80% actively supported Israel through actions such as making donations and publicly manifesting their support.