December 21, 2021

ALLMEP’s winter gala sheds light on Palestinian and Israeli youth attitudes

On December 12, 2021, ALLMEP hosted its virtual winter gala, Light the Way: A Global Celebration of the Peacebuilding Community. The event was a tremendous success as ALLMEP gathered peacebuilding practitioners, politicians, researchers, international stakeholders, and supporters together to recognize the difficult challenges of the past year and celebrate the resilience of the peacebuilding community.

The program covered a wide array of topics, including the results of a recent ALLMEP and United States Institute of Peace (USIP) study on youth attitudes in Israel and Palestine, conducted by Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin and Dr. Khalil Shikaki. As so many ALLMEP member organizations work with young people on a daily basis, we wanted to make it a priority to better understand this emerging generation’s attitudes toward key questions related to peace, politics, and identity. The study focused narrowly on a representative sample of Palestinians and Israelis ages 15-21 using a 30-question survey, as well as a series of focus groups conducted immediately after the outbreak of violence in May 2021.

While there were certainly some troubling findings in this research, there were also some very bright spots that offer important insights on the path forward. Sadly, we saw “majorities that reject the historical connection of the other to the land and majorities that think violence is the best or only way to achieve their goals.”

At the same time, however, large majorities of both Palestinians and Israelis see people-to-people programming as legitimate and are willing to participate. The poll also revealed key overlap in shared ideas. On both sides, 90% of people value living in a democratic society. Majorities on both sides also respect and value the religious identity of the other. While polls are just one data point, this data provides an important snapshot of youth attitudes as USAID is just beginning to roll out MEPPA funding, the largest-ever single investment in peacebuilding work in the region.

ALLMEP and USIP will be releasing the full report early next year. But you can get a sense of some of its key insights from this video, with contributions from Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen, Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin and Dr. Khaili Shikaki.