Haredi men gather in Jerusalem for the funeral of Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach .
(photo credit: EHUD AMITON/TPS)
An overwhelming majority of the Jewish public opposes legislation being demanded by the haredi parties to reinstate blanket exemptions from military service for yeshiva students.
Seventy-nine percent of the Jewish public opposes the legislation, compared to 21% in favor, of those who expressed an opinion, the poll conducted by the Smith Polling Institute for the Hiddush religious pluralism lobbying group showed.
The poll also demonstrated blanket opposition to the bill among every political party in the Knesset other than United Torah Judaism and Shas.
Among the coalition parties, 67% of Likud voters, 80% of Kulanu voters, 78% of Yisrael Beytenu voters and 72% of Bayit Yehudi voters oppose the bill.
Interestingly, although nearly three-quarters of respondents who said they vote Bayit Yehudi, the National Religious party, oppose the bill, only 32% of National Religious respondents said they oppose the bill, compared with 44% who said they support it and 24% who said they do not know.
The legislation being advanced by UTJ and Shas would create a Basic Law stipulating that Torah study is a supreme value of the Jewish state, and undertaking this endeavor for a lengthy period entitles a person to an exemption from military service.
The haredi parties have demanded that the legislation be passed through all three readings in Knesset and into law before the end of the Knesset’s Spring Session, and condition supporting the state budget for 2019 on the Basic Law’s passage.
The poll was conducted on February 28 and March 1 with a sample of 500 Jewish adults and has a 4.5% margin of error.
“At stake is not only the principle of sharing Israel’s civic burden, but also the question of whether there is a limit to the obsequiousness of the civil parties in dealing with the ultra-Orthodox politicians’ blackmail (and the rabbis who pull their strings),” said Hiddush CEO Rabbi Uri Regev.
“This is a test for both the coalition parties and for the opposition parties, in view of the broad public opposition to the demands of the ultra-Orthodox parties. Now it is clearer than ever that the public will call to account those who continue to treat equality of civic burden and blood as up for sale.”