Nearly four out of five young Israeli people have encountered anti-Semitism on the internet, a new survey has revealed. The figure is believed to be the highest number in three years, indicating online anti-Semitism is rising.
The research conducted by the Geocartography Knowledge Group on behalf of the Anti-Defamation League, an international Jewish NGO based in the United States. The survey collected answers from 500 Israelis between the ages of 15 and 18, with 84% of respondents saying that they had encountered anti-Semitic abuse online in 2015. At least 16% of the young Israelis said that the anti-Semitism was directed towards them.
CEO of ADL, Jonathan Greenblatt, said: "As a highly developed and technologically savvy society in a volatile neighbourhood, it is perhaps not surprising that Israeli youths more than ever before are being exposed to anti-Semitic hate on social media."
Respondents of the survey were shown a definition of anti-Semitism before being asked whether they had come across similar sentiments online, either targeted at themselves or others. Many Israeli teens said that they came across anti-Semitic content at least once a month, with some even saying that they were exposed to it on a weekly or daily basis. More than 70% of the teenagers had come across anti-Semitic websites.
Among those who said that they experienced anti-Semitism on the Internet, nearly 90% said that they had experienced it on social networks. According to the survey, Facebook was the most popular site for anti-Semitic content, with 76% reporting experiencing it on the Mark Zuckerberg platform. Nearly half of the teenagers (47%) also reported anti-Semitic content on YouTube, 35% reported it on Instagram, 31% on Twitter and 18% on WhatsApp.
Carol Nuriel, acting director of ADL's Israel Office, said that Israeli teenageres who spent hours on the Internet and on social media were "clearly more likely than most" to have experienced anti-Semitic content.
Nuriel said: "Unfortunately, we have reached a saturation point for the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic invective on social networks, and young people in Israel are seeing it more and more in their daily lives. Some clearly feel powerless to confront it. We need to equip students and young people to have the tools to respond to anti-Semitism appropriately and effectively."