Arab Israelis are more active on blog sites than any other demographic group in Israel, a pioneering new survey on Israelis' Internet usage has found.
The survey, titled "Israel in the Digital Age 2012," was conducted by Dr. Yuval Dror of the College of Management Academic Studies (COMAS) with Google Israel's sponsorship and was released in May. It is the first of its kind to comprehensively look into Israelis' activism and sharing of information on the Internet in recent years.
Commenting on the survey to reporters via phone conference on Monday, Dror noted "We have very few statistics on Israelis' Internet usage. My intention was that when we offer the answers, people will ask the questions. The report's responses are so open and relatable to everyone."
Compared to other Israeli surveys that tend to base their information on a population sample of 500, Dror said his survey was unique in that it gathered information from 1,200 respondents, including from sectors often left out of national surveys such as teenagers aged 14-17, Arabs, haredim (ultra-Orthodox Jews), and new Jewish immigrants to Israel. "These are problematic groups, they require a lot of resources and money, but we did this because we wanted to get the answers from them, not just from adult Jews who are veteran citzens," Dror said.
Among the most surprising statistics revealed in the survey, Arab Israelis were found to be more active on blog sites, both in terms of reading blogs and writing them, than any other demographic sector in Israel. Arab Israelis also share more information and videos online than Jews, according to the report.
Another unexpected statistic was related to viewership of videos online. The survey revealed that haredim view more videos online than the secular public. This comes despite the widespread belief that haredim avoid doing so in order not to be exposed to "problematic" content, Dror said.
The survey found that around 1,600,000 Israelis use social media sites every day. Usage, in this case, does not simply mean logging onto the sites, but sharing videos or photos.
A digital gap between respondents who earn below-average incomes and those with average and above-average incomes also exists, the report found.
The survey also checked to what extent Israelis were "citizens of the world" or if they were more provincial in terms of Internet content. "Surprisingly, and maybe it shouldn't be, we like Hebrew, we prefer it, we are connected to the language," Dror said. When asked where respondents search for news, for example, 81 percent of veteran Jewish citizens said they search for mainly on Hebrew news sites, and very few consider looking on websites in other languages.
In another statistic that should come less as a surprise to Israelis, most respondents said they logged on to Hebrew websites to read news. General searches for information came in second place, and social media came in third. The report also found that Internet usage, and the purposes of that use, change with age.
Dror told reporters that usage of specific services, such as Facebook and Twitter, were not measured because the focus of the survey was digital activity — how much respondents use social media platforms, rather than which platforms they use.