Survey: Most Israelis favor religious pluralism

It was taken just before the government’s original decision to approve the contested section last January.

June 29, 2017 01:06
1 minute read.
An Orthodox man prays with soldiers in J'lem.

Orthodox man prays w soldiers at Wall 390. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Shortly after the government rescinded a plan for an egalitarian prayer section at the Western Wall, the Ruderman Family Foundation released a recent poll illustrating that most Israelis believe in pluralism and feel the government is out of touch with public sentiment.

The foundation, an organization committed to bridging the gap between Israelis and US Jewry, also condemned the decision upon releasing the poll on Tuesday.

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The omnibus survey was conducted by Dialog in phone interviews with 500 Israeli Jews, including men and women of all religious affiliations and social classes.

It was taken just before the government’s original decision to approve the contested section last January.

It found that 82% of Israelis believe that all Jews, including Reform and Conservative, should feel the Western Wall belongs to them and that every Jew, regardless of affiliation, should feel welcome in Israel.

“The decision of the Israeli government to freeze the plan for a pluralistic prayer site at the Western Wall will have distressing ramifications on the vital relationship between Israel and the influential American Jewish community,” foundation president Jay Ruderman said.

“The rift between Israel and the Jewish community of America will have a direct influence on Israel’s security, economy and social resilience that will only worsen,” he said.

According to the eight-question survey that also asked subjects about their views on American Jewry, 67% said the connection has a direct impact on the relationship between the two countries.

Moreover, 59% of Israelis agreed that distancing from American Jewry was a threat to state security.

“The State of Israel was established as the state of the Jewish people, and it seems to me both surprising and strange that the prime minister has surrendered to domestic political pressure that undermines the basic values on which Israel was founded,” Ruderman said.

“The Ruderman Family Foundation believes that inclusion and understanding of all people is essential to a fair and flourishing community.”

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