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.

By
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.

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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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