As many as one-fifth of Israeli Jews identify as national-religious, study finds

The new study published on Tuesday also revealed attitudes within the national-religious community on a variety of issues such as settlements and rabbinic influence on national policy.

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January 28, 2015 17:15
2 minute read.
A FATHER SAYS kiddush in the Shishi Yisraeli advert.

A FATHER SAYS kiddush in the Shishi Yisraeli advert.. (photo credit: YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT)

One fifth of Israeli Jews identify as belonging to the national- religious sector, a significantly higher figure than was previously thought, a survey released this week found.

The survey was conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute in 2013.

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According to the IDI, prior to the study it was believed that the national-religious community comprises approximately 10 percent of the Israeli Jewish population, according to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics.

But in the survey, the institute found that 21% of Israeli Jews state that, to a large or very large extent, they belong to the national-religious sector in terms of both their lifestyle and outlook, while 23% state they belong to a slight extent, and 53% state they do not belong at all.

Only those who said they identify with the national-religious community to a large or very large extent were included in the results of the remaining questions.

The IDI noted that part of those 21% strongly identifying as national religious did so despite the fact that they did not display the usual “markers” of this group and do not necessarily define themselves as “religious.”

This category encompassed individuals who identify themselves as “traditional religious” or “traditional nonreligious,” and even secular and haredi Jews who answered in the affirmative when asked if they belong to the national-religious camp.

On matters of foreign policy and national security, 47% of those identifying as national religious defined themselves as right-wing, 31% as moderate right-wing, 10% as centrists, 2% as moderate left-wingers, and 1% as left-wingers.

In the 2013 Knesset elections, 24% of those identifying as national religious stated that they voted for Bayit Yehudi in the last election, while 23% voted for Likud Beytenu, 9% voted for Shas, 5% for United Torah Judaism, 3% for Yesh Atid and for Labor, 2% for Otzma Le’Yisrael and for Hatnua, and 1% for Kadima.

In relation to diplomatic considerations, 62% of the national- religious community surveyed said they believe that it is more important that the State of Israel have a Jewish majority than the entire Land of Israel from the Jordan to the Mediterranean, while 22% said they believe that Israeli sovereignty over the entire Land of Israel is more important than maintaining a Jewish majority.

The survey also asked if respondents believe that religious soldiers should refuse to evacuate settlements in Judea and Samaria if ordered to do so. Some 40% of national-religious people polled said that a soldier should refuse to follow such orders, while 45% said he should not refuse even if he is opposed to a government decision to evacuate Jewish communities.

Just under 35% said that they strongly support or somewhat support granting state funds to Reform and Conservative synagogues and rabbis, while 58.2% said they somewhat or strongly oppose this.

There was significant opposition to the operation of public transportation on Shabbat, with 60% opposing public transportation on Shabbat in areas where there are not many religious Jews, while 36% said they would support it in such places.

Forty-eight percent of the national-religious sector would not accept same-sex couples in their synagogue, while 45% said they would, and 48% said they would support allowing women to serve as rabbinical court


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