Hinge and Tinder are swamped with anti-Zionism, say Jewish singles

Online dating is not immune to the October 7 effect, say Jewish singles


Many Jews are giving up dating apps because of the vitriol directed at 'Zionists' (Image: Getty)

 Meet 26-year-old Amy. She’s single, likes puppies and is looking for a date on Hinge. But it’s not just good-looking men she’s after; she “goes crazy for a free Palestine” – at least that’s what her dating profile says.

Felicity tells singles on Hinge: “The way to win me over is: Having higher emotional intelligence than a turtle, loving spicy food and being pro-Palestine.”

Yosef says the “dorkiest thing about me is I write poems in my spare time”. Underneath these words is a photograph of him waving a Palestinian flag.

Lauren cuts to the chase by simply saying: “No Zionists”.

Lee wants to “make sure we’re on the same page about free Palestine”. So does Savanah. And Boris. And Michaela.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that, like everything else in the world since October, dating has become an anti-Israel and anti-Jewish minefield.

But although there are some pro-Israel profiles, most of the messages flow in one direction: Jewish singles on Hinge tell the JC that between one in ten and one in three of their matches have something anti-Israel on their profile.

What’s more, while app algorithms are challenging to pin down, Jewish daters say that their matches have gone down since the war started and they think it’s got something to do with the “Jew” stamp on their profile.

Singles can tell prospective partners that they are Jewish on several of the main dating apps if they have set set that on their profile – it falls under the “religion” rather than “ethnicity” category. There is no setting for being anti-Israel, but daters have found other ways to broadcast their views.

The main apps all prefer active users; the more you use them and engage with profiles, the more the app understands who you’re interested in. So, what happens when Jewish singles are simply outnumbered by the sheer volume of anti-Israel profiles?

JC editor-at-large Stephen Pollard took to Twitter to express his frustration with the number of anti-Zionist profiles on Hinge. “I noticed a few weeks after October 7 that some profiles started to show the Palestinian flag,” he says. “I didn’t think much of it. But something has happened more recently. It’s not – yet – the majority but many profiles I see now say ‘No Zionists’.”

Now divorced, 59-year-old Stephen downloaded Hinge last summer. A few months of swiping later, Palestinian flags started appearing.

“I don’t have a problem with the Palestinian flag – people can share whatever flag they like, but the people who post ‘no Zionists’ are basically saying ‘no Jews’. It’s what they think is an acceptable way of saying it,” he adds.

“It’s like the signs that used to read: ‘No Blacks. No Jews. No Dogs. No Irish.’”

Stephen says there are masses of Palestinian flags on Hinge, and he’s come across profiles of women who say: “No terfs, no Tories, free Palestine.” “It’s put me off opening the app,” he says. Twenty-two-year-old Hannah (not her real name) has also distanced herself from dating apps since realising how many potential matches were diametrically opposed to her when it came to Israel.

Hannah wants to match with like-minded, left-wing women.

“Before the war, I said on Hinge that I was liberal and interested in politics, but I’ve taken that off now,” says Hannah.

“I’m hiding that aspect of myself because all the other girls on there who are into politics seem to hate Jews.

“It’s frustrating,” she says, “because I want to meet people who I can talk to about the world.

“But if they’re saying ‘no Zionists’ that doesn’t leave much room for me.”

Hannah, whose profile says she is Jewish, has also noticed a significant drop in likes since the war started.

“I used to get a five a day, but now it’s more like one per day or zero,” she says, adding that some of her friends have taken “Jewish” off their profiles. “After October 7, I know some friends were worried that potential matches might shy away [from Jewish matches], fearing awkward political discussions.

“I didn’t think Israel would become so important to my dating life,” she says.

“I think now I’m looking for a different match on the apps than the person I was after before the war.”

Some daters say they have switched to Jewish-only dating. JSwipe and JDate are options, but they’re both based in the US and several singles said there are simply not enough people on these apps in certain parts of the UK.

Others have set their preferences to Jewish on the mainstream apps, but this has come with its own challenges.

Zack, 35, says: “I got pretty disillusioned after I found myself consistently matching with anti-Zionists, even when I set it to ‘Jewish only’.”

Zack put an Israeli flag emoji on his profile to rectify the situation. “It’s annoying because the more creative personalities I normally go for tend to be more anti-Israel.” Now he’s having fewer awkward conversations about the conflict, but the people he’s matching with are “less interesting”.

He’d be open to dating someone he disagreed with on Israeli politics, but reckons the match would need to be “fairly moderate in her anti-Israel views and not too extreme”.

Zack’s downloaded Jewish dating apps but prefers Hinge as the prompts on a person’s profile force them to write more.

“Political things tend to be more important these days than they were a few years ago,” Zack says. He didn’t see Brexit or Black Lives Matter appear on the dating apps, let alone the Ukraine war.

“My parents never had to worry about things like that,” Zack bemoans, as he continues swiping.

Then there’s 27-year-old Jacob. Back in October, the conversation on a first date with someone who wasn’t Jewish turned into an uncomfortable debate about Israel. Jacob says he is “not keen on repeating that”.

When he matched with the girl of his dreams on Hinge, they quickly planned a date. The day before, they swapped social media links and he saw her Instagram was flooded with anti-Israel content.

The girl had been at anti-Israel rallies and was sharing content that made Jacob uncomfortable. He decided not to meet her and texted her to apologise. He received this curt response: “Thanks for letting me know, have a nice day.”

Like many singles who dodge anti-Israel dates, Jacob was pleased he didn’t waste more time on the girl but wondered what the date would have turned into. After that, he started matching with more Jews.

The next month Jacob met another woman on Hinge. They discovered they were both going to the anti-antisemitism march in central London and arranged to meet for a date afterwards.

They met at the demo but the freezing weather at the parade in November amid signs such as “united against antisemitism” didn’t make for the most romantic start and the pair were too cold and tired for sparks to fly. There has not been a second date.

“There’re a lot of people who only date Jews these days,” Jacob says. He thinks it’s “just a way of preselecting and avoiding unwelcome surprises”.

There’s always been pressure on Jews to meet each other – it’s one of the factors behind programmes such as Birth Right – but for many, it was not until October 7 and the subsequent hike in antisemitism that matching with a Jew felt necessary.

Jacob says: “I didn’t care before, but now I’ll make a bit more effort to try and find someone Jewish.”

Like Zack, however, he has encountered anti-Zionist Jews.

Just last week, a Jewish match told Jacob, “I go to the Palestinian marches, not the Israel ones” and invited him to an anti-Israel march in London.

When Jacob said he had found the bias against Israel to be extreme, the match asked, “what media are you reading?” She went on, “I’ve found The Guardian and BBC to be biased in favour of Israel. They favour them all the time. I used to work in media, so I do know.”

Jacob unmatched with the woman but is still on the apps. He hopes he won’t waste any more time with those who espouse incompatible views, but in lieu of the perfect date he’s taken to organising Jews-only wine and cheese evenings.

Perhaps it’ll be over a vintage Gouda and cabernet sauvignon that he’ll meet his match.

If these singles had one shared message, it was that they were keen to date.

In Israel, there have been lots of marriages since October 7, but there is a reported drop in sex drive among those who have experienced trauma.

While Jews are depressed, anxious and scared, the urge to form stronger bonds and raise a Jewish family is more powerful than ever.

Several Jewish singles Facebook groups have sprung up post-October 7.

There are more than 60,000 members in a singles page that calls itself “The World’s Largest Jewish Singles Group”, while a group for New York Jewish singles has over 8,000 members.

In the UK, the Jewish Community Singles group has grown to 2,000 members in the four months since it was formed and 42 couples say they are still dating thanks to the group.

Sarah Harouni Davies and Genevieve Gresset set up the page and have hosted several face-to-face events, including a winter festive gathering and a Valentine’s party.

Meanwhile, others have taken to hosting Friday night dinners for singles.

“It’s time to ditch the dating apps and go to a friend’s house for Shabbos,” says one TikTok user.

Another social media user says she hosted a Shabbat dinner with 16 singles last week and, this week, several of those at the dinner have been on dates.

“No Zionists” on a dating profile might make a Jew swipe left, but a Star of David on a prospective match doesn’t necessarily make for the perfect date.

Jacob now looks more likely to meet his match at one of his wine and cheese evenings.

Hannah will keep swiping away for the moment, but is sorely tempted by a singles Shabbat.

“Most of my generation say they want to Free Palestine but all I want is a good date who isn’t turned off because I’m Jewish,” she says.

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