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March 9, 2016 1:22 pm

Pew Study: Israeli Jews United on Land, Divided on Religion

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An Israeli flag at the Wailing Wall. Israeli Jews are divided on the matter of religion. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

An Israeli flag at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – Israeli Jews are united in the opinion that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, but are divided on the matter of religion, according to a comprehensive survey on religion, state, and society in Israel that was conducted by America’s Pew Research Center.

The survey found that while more Israeli Jews are traditional or religious than secular, most still think halacha (Jewish law) should be separate from the laws of the state. The study also found that most of the Israeli Jewish population votes for the center-right, and most object to the lack of public transportation on Shabbat.

“Nearly 70 years after the establishment of the modern state of Israel, its Jewish population remains united behind the idea that Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people and a necessary refuge from rising anti-Semitism around the globe,” Pew researchers said.

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According to the findings, 40 percent of Jews in Israel are secular, 23 percent are traditional, 10 percent are religious, and 8 percent are haredi. Most Israeli Jews (63 percent) said halacha should not be made into state law. The vast majority (94 percent) of secular Israeli Jews support public transportation on the Shabbat, most of the country’s Jews (72 percent) support conscripting haredi men to serve in the military. Almost half of Israeli Jews (45 percent) said they were in favor of letting women pray out loud at the Western Wall.

Meanwhile, the majority of secular Israeli Jews said they observe cultural aspects of religion. For example, 87 percent said they had participated in Passover seders and 53 percent said they light Shabbat candles at least occasionally. On the other hand, 62 percent said they drive vehicles on Shabbat.

Forty-eight percent of Jewish Israelis support the transfer or expulsion of Arabs from Israel, while 46 percent said they oppose such measures.

Pew conducted the survey through face-to-face interviews in Hebrew, Arabic and Russian among 5,601 Israeli adults aged 18 and older from October 2014 through May 2015, before the current wave of terror.

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  • What they should agree on is that Judaism is a way of life, something they look to for guidance in all aspects of their lives and not a mere culture or identity, regardless of how they observe it from a ritualistic standpoint. If they did, that would be the end of greed, corruption, materialism, pride, pretense, and divisiveness. Israel’s main enemy would be no more.

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