Haredim proud to be Israeli, poll finds

Haredim are right wing, believe Jewish law should take precedence in a conflict with civil law, and have barely any trust in the High Court of Justice or the media.

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December 19, 2016 17:41
3 minute read.
Shmuel Sokolik, the Israeli army’s only ultra-Orthodox combat doctor.

Shmuel Sokolik, the Israeli army’s only ultra-Orthodox combat doctor.. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The large majority of the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) public in Israel feels proud to be Israeli and consider themselves to be part of the state.

They are also right-wing by a similarly large majority, believe Jewish law should take precedence in a conflict with civil law and have barely any trust in the High Court of Justice or the media.

These findings were presented by the Israel Democracy Institute in its 2016 democracy index which was presented to the president on Monday.

Despite public perceptions, 69.5% of haredim in Israel are proud to be Israeli, compared to 87% of the rest of the Jewish population according to the annual index.

Of those, Sephardi haredim are the most proud at 79.5%, followed by hassidic Ashkenazim at 68% and non-hassidic “Lithuanian” haredim at 59%.

Additionally, 64% of haredim feel part of the State of Israel and its problems, compared to 86% of the non-haredi Jewish population.

However, 55.5% of haredim say their strongest identity is their Jewish identity, while 41.5% said their religious identity was most important and just 1% said their Israeli identity was most important, while 56% of the non-haredi Jewish population said their Israeli identity was their primary identity and 33% sees themselves as primarily Jewish.

Among non-haredi Jews, 42% of the population thinks that the Jewish component of the State of Israel is too strong, and only 21% think that the democratic component is too strong.

For the ultra-Orthodox, things are the other way around; 69% think that the democratic component is too strong and only 17% think there is the right balance between the Jewish and democratic components of the state.

And an overwhelming 96% of haredim say that if there is a contradiction between Jewish law and a court ruling, Jewish law should take precedence.

In terms of political inclination, 75% of haredim describe themselves as right-wing, compared to 51% of the non-haredi Jewish population. 83% of haredim think that human rights organizations cause damage to the state, compared to 70% of non-haredi Jews.

Fifty-six percent of haredim disagree with the statement that freedom of expression for those speak out against the state should be guaranteed, compared to 40% of the non-haredi Jewish population.

Haredim are also more averse to Arab citizens taking part in decision-making affecting Israel’s security than the general Jewish population. Some 94% of haredim think that such decisions should be taken by a Jewish majority, compared to 54% of the non-haredi Jewish population.

Fifty-eight percent of haredim believe that Jewish citizens should have more rights than non-Jewish citizens, compared to 26% of the non-haredi Jewish public.

Eighty-one percent of haredim oppose brining in the Arab parties to the governing coalition, compared to 57% of the general public, and only 14% of haredim would accept an Arab as a neighbor, compared to 72% of the non-Jewish population, 16% as a personal friend, compared to 72% of non-haredi Jews, and 37% as a work friend, compared to 86% of non-haredi Jews.

Haredim are also more skeptical about the institutions of democracy and law and order in the country than the non-haredi Jewish population.

Only 4% of haredim trust the media, 6% trust the High Court of Justice, 25% trust the Knesset, 28% trust the government and 34% trust the police, whereas 29% of the non-haredi Jewish public trust the media, 62.5% trust the High Court, 28% trust the Knesset, 29% trust the government and 43% trust the police.

But 71% of haredim said they have a party that represents them, compared to just 52% of the non-haredi Jewish public.

The most trusted state institution for both the haredi and non-haredi Jewish populations was the army, with 66% and 93% respectively.

The poll was conducted in May 2016 on a total of 1,531 interviewees of the Jewish and Arab public, with a margin of error of 5.3% for the haredi sample.


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