Gesher study: Almost half of haredim rarely talk to secular

Fifty-three percent of haredim reported having few, if any, conversations with Jews from segments of society outside their own.

By MATTHEW AXEL
July 24, 2015 02:50
1 minute read.
Haredi man and IDF soldiers in Jerusalem.

Haredi man and IDF soldiers in Jerusalem.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
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Forty-five percent of haredim have no interaction at all with secular Jews, according to a study released by the Gesher NGO.

And about one in five secular Jews has little contact with the ultra-Orthodox, respondents to the survey released on Wednesday said.

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The first comprehensive index of social attitudes toward Israeli unity was commissioned as part of the Jerusalem Unity Prize in memory of the three teenagers abducted and murdered by Hamas terrorists last summer, Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel. The prize is a joint initiative by the families of the three teens, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Gesher.

Some 78% of respondents to the survey supported educational efforts to promote contact between religious and secular Jews.

Fifty-three percent of haredim reported having few, if any, conversations with Jews from segments of society outside their own. The group has minimal Internet access and had to speak with interviewers by telephone.

Eighty-one percent of the 511 people surveyed said they respected Jews from all sectors of society, but only 13% felt such open-mindedness was likely to resonate in the nation within the next five years.

Gesher chairman Daniel Goldman believes the educational system does not do enough to encourage discussion among different kinds of Jews.

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"Across the board, we realize that we need to recognize difference," he said. “But let’s be clear that when we talk about unity, we are not talking about uniformity.”

Uri Yifrah, father of Eyal, is optimistic about the attention being placed on the issues, but added that they need to be addressed even without triggers such as the death of his son and his friends.

“The challenge, and one which we can and must confront, is to implement those solutions at all times and not just when we’re being faced with tragedy or attacks,” he told the Five Towns Jewish Times of Long Island, New York.

The survey has a margin of ±4.4%.

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