Family policy and public attitudes in Germany and Israel

Noah Lewin-Epstein*, Haya Stier, Michael Braun, Bettina Langfeldt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines attitudes towards policies of financial assistance to families in Germany and Israel. The unique circumstances of the last decade - unification in Germany and the immigration to Israel of the 'returning Diaspora' from the former Soviet Union - provide an opportunity to examine both systemic and cultural bases for attitudes towards family policy. The comparison of East Germans and immigrants to Israel with West Germans and native Israelis focuses on the socialist-capitalist polarity, and the comparison of Israel with Germany articulates traditional vs. less traditional family orientations. Data from the 1994 Family and Gender Roles module of the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) are used for the empirical analysis. Multivariate regression and covariance analysis reveals group main effects as well as the differential impact of social and demographic variables in the various population groups. West Germans display the least favourable attitudes towards state financial support for the family and the greatest age and class differences. Religiosity has a major effect on attitudes in Israel, especially among veteran Israelis. Lastly, the socialist experience appears to have had a homogenizing effect, resulting in small age, class, and religiosity differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-401
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Sociological Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2000


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