I Hate You More


From the Jerusalem Post:

37% of Israelis say that the haredim are the most hated group in Israel, according to a new study conducted by the Gesher organization ahead of the memorial day for the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

Some 15% said the same of new immigrants from former Soviet Union countries, while about 13% said that settlers in the West Bank and the former Gaza Strip settlements were the most hated.

Note the language. The study did not ask people which group they hated the most, but rather which group they thought was the most hated, i.e. which group they thought other people hated the most. What could this possibly teach us? The Post takes a misguided stab at sorting this out:

Because the respondents were asked to say whom they believed to be hated, rather than whom they personally hated, the numbers reflect not only the opinions of Israelis who dislike certain groups, but also those of Israelis who feel disliked.

But this is ridiculous. The poll absolutely does not reflect “the opinions of Israelis who dislike certain groups” since anyone, even the most love-filled person in the world can answer the question: Who do you think is the most hated group in Israel? I’m all for emotional honesty, but I really can’t figure out what this poll could possibly teach us. Isn’t it possible that everyone polled named their “group” as the most hated. If this is so, then the poll could merely show that people tend to think they are part of a hated group and could tell us nothing about Israeli society as a whole.

Assuming the Gesher that produced this study is the same Gesher that promotes religious-secular dialogue, it would seem that the study was supposed to highlight inter-group strife. But phrased the way it is, it doesn’t. It just highlights its own stupidity.

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