Introduction to the Shaharit Survey Project

סקר שחרית_אנגלית 4

Shaharit was founded in 2012 on the premonition that the polarized nature of the Israeli political debate was not the whole story of Israeli society, but that it was increasingly a self-fulfilling prophecy. Under the radar screen, we believed, there was a different reality, where, although radically different worlds of meaning offered different visions of Israel’s future, there was a real desire among many in each of Israel’s “tribes” to find common ground, and to build a future of living well, together. For the past five years Shaharit has worked hard to build that common ground – in thought and in action – and has built an ever-growing community of thinkers, social-political leaders and activists from the full spectrum of Israeli society showing that such a future is indeed possible. After five years of working with the most unlikely of partners, we can say that we have seen the Promised Land, and believe more than ever in a realistic optimism which confronts the complex reality of Israeli society with a full measure of hope.

The Shaharit surveys are unique, designed to inform Shaharit’s work by digging deeper into Israeli society, mapping its contours, and exposing who and where can be found the partners for building common cause. After an initial survey of the society as a whole (800 informants, including 200 Israeli Arabs ), we then began surveying each of the “tribes” of Israel. What interested us were the subterranean currents which are often missed when groups are described as a homogeneous block. It is a sociological fact that when “we” often think of “our” grouping, whether “we” area liberal or Arab or Haredi or National Religious or Russian or Ethiopian, we see it as having a wide variety of viewpoints that can’t be easily defined or described, but “they” are seemingly always one-dimensional: from settlers to Medinat Tel Aviv to Haredim to Arabs – “they” all are the same. We all know that is preposterous, yet we invariably ignore the differences. Using statistical methods called factor and cluster analysis that are often used to discover consumer groups for marketing, which has demonstrated its effectiveness in successfully describing subgroupings, we have divided each of the sociologies surveyed into multiple subgroups, describing their shared values and thus discovering the potential partners for working together for the Common Good. The news confirms Shaharit’s argument from the beginning of its work – that partners can be found everywhere.