A new poll conducted for the Hiddush religious freedom lobbying group revealed
that 67 percent of the Jewish population believes that the activities of haredi
political parties distance the public from Judaism.
The poll also showed
that 76% of the Jewish population is not satisfied with the government’s
handling of religious issues, and 64%, including 56% of religious people, thinks
discrimination against women in the public domain should be a criminal
Hiddush’s fourth annual poll, conducted by the Rafi Smith group
using a sample of 800 people, is a barometer of attitudes to issues of religion
The organization’s director, Reform rabbi and attorney Uri
Regev, said that the poll once again demonstrated an “unacceptable gap” between
the stance of the public which wants freedom of religion and the position of the
government which “dodges any confrontation with the haredi parties.”
public wants mandatory [national] service for everyone, core curriculum subjects
[to be taught to all school children], civil marriages, public transport on
Shabbat, cutting benefits for yeshiva students and a struggle against
discrimination against women,” Regev continued.
Instead of this, he said,
the public is getting “at best incompetence and at worst political deals and
machinations” between the two haredi parties, Shas and United Torah
Further trends recorded by the poll showed an increase in
support for freedom of religion and conscience, from 79% in January 2010 to 85%
in the current survey.
Additionally, 56% of the Jewish population thinks
that religion and state should be separated completely, and 65% is disturbed by
the influence of the haredi parties on such issues.
Several requests for
comment made to haredi members of Knesset by The Jerusalem Post were
Shaul Farber, an Orthodox rabbi and director of the ITIM
religious rights advocacy group, said that haredi parties are a reality of the
“The challenge is to have the religious establishment
take a klal yisrael – all Jews – perspective rather than a myopic
Religious functionaries have been corrupted by their perceived power
and all too often don’t serve the general public in a meaningful way,” the rabbi
Regarding the issue of haredi national service, 83% of the Jewish
population believes that yeshiva students should be obligated to perform some
form of military or national service, according to the poll, and 72% said they
opposed the claim that Torah study in yeshivot and not military service provides
Israel with security.
Just over than 70% of those responding to the poll
said that haredi-secular tensions constitute either the most or second-most
serious inter-communal tensions in the country.
Other findings revealed
that 63% of the non-haredi population and 57% of the general Jewish population
think that the haredi sector benefits from positive discrimination in the
distribution of state welfare benefits in relation to their own
Seventy-eight percent supported a reduction in state support for
yeshivot and families with large numbers of children in order to encourage
haredi men to join the work force.
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