Shifting Perspectives: Reactions vs Reality
By Sarah Weinberger
In the spring of 2019, VCI Global Ambassador Sarah Weinberger was given an amazing opportunity to conduct a case study at her university, the University of Alabama, and to research students’ perceptions of Israel. The school's diverse population serves as an excellent testing ground for millennials and Generation Z’s knowledge of Israel.
She composed a survey consisting of various questions and statements about Israel and began the case study process by randomly sending out the survey link, receiving around 600 responses (2/3 complete and 1/3 partial). Due to the size of the response, this is probably indicative not just of the school but of the general population.
The internet was reported as the most used media type, at about 82%, and around 68% of students got their news from mass media reports, such as those spread on the internet and via social media.
The survey results, presented below, show the dramatic and alarming effects of Generation Z’s reliance on mass media for their information about Israel.
- Where did you fall in response to each statement? Agree? Disagree? Majority or minority opinion?
- Which result surprised you the most?
- Were you aware of the “reality” provided in the sources? If not, what facts about Israeli society did you learn?
- What are some ramifications of the discrepancies for the participants and/or young adults in general? For Israel?
- How can you lessen the gap between the perception and reality of Israeli society?