Most Israeli men agree with US President Donald Trump’s recent criticism of the #MeToo movement that it has created “a very scary time for young men,” according to a new survey published on Tuesday.
Most Israelis, 60%, said they support the #MeToo movement, which has seen many women and men publicly expose their stories of experiencing sexual harassment and assault. The figure among Jews was 62% compared to 49% among Arabs.
But some 44 percent of all Israelis, both male and female, said they supported Trump’s statement against the growing anti-sexual harassment movement, compared with 45% who said they oppose it, according to The Israel Democracy Institute’s (IDI) monthly peace index.
Among Jewish Israelis, 44% backed the statement while 46% rejected it. Among the Arab population, 44% agreed while 41% disagreed. Significantly more Arabs — 32.1% — said they “strongly agree” with Trump’s remark than Jews (14.3%).
A breakdown of the answers according to gender, age, and political orientation revealed significant differences on both questions.
While 53% of Israeli men agreed that it is a scary time for young men, just 36% of women thought so. The difference was the highest among nonreligious Jews, with 56% of men supporting the statement and only 33% of women, according to research by Dr. Will Cubbison of the IDI’s Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research.
When breaking down the answers according to Jewish respondents’ political views, the only group in which the most supported Trump’s statement was right-wing men. Among left-wingers, there was almost no difference along gender lines. Centrist women similarly showed overwhelming opposition to the remark, while centrist men and right-wing women were divided almost equally between both answers.
A breakdown by age showed that both among men and among women, Jews aged 55 and older were the most opposed to Trump’s statement, while the biggest support was among those aged 35-54.
As for support for the #MeToo movement, gender differences were higher among Arabs than among Jews, although all groups have more supporters of the campaign than opponents.
Differences among Jews were more striking when divided by religious affiliation. Secular women and men both overwhelmingly support the movement, while among religious Jews the support is surprisingly higher among men than women. Some 43% of religious women said they oppose #MeToo, compared with just 31% of religious men.
Asked whether they know anyone who has been sexually harassed, 45% of Jewish respondents and 41% of Arabs said they do or think they do, while 48% of Jews and 54% of Arabs said they don’t or think they don’t.
Generally, more women than men said they know sexual harassment victims. Among young Jews aged 18-34, 72% of women said they personally know such people compared with 52% of men.
Older Israelis were much less likely to report they know someone who was affected by sexual assault. Just 35% of women aged 55 or more and 20% of men in those ages said they know such a person.
The survey was conducted from October 16-17, 2018, among 600 respondents who constitute a representative sample of Israel’s adult population aged 18 and over.
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