Close to half the population believes that ignorance of the basic tenets of Judaism, Islam and Christianity is a significant factor in causing the conflict between Israel's Arab and Jewish populations, according to a survey published on Thursday by Market Watch.
The survey was commissioned by the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel, to coincide with the annual Kedem conference which began on Thursday.
Those conducting the survey questioned 497 Jews and 515 Arabs - Muslims, Druse and Christians - as to what extent lack of information about each other's religious beliefs contributed to the tension and trust between the two communities.
Among the Jewish population, only 10.6% said they had a comprehensive understanding of Islam or Christianity, with 15.4% saying they knew nothing about the other two religions. Of the Arabs questioned, only 3.6% said they had a good understanding of Judaism and 15% said they knew nothing about it at all.
A little less than half of those questioned from both communities (48.1% of Jews and 42.8% of Arabs) agreed that it was a lack of basic knowledge about each other's religious beliefs that caused contention between them.
Moreover, 83.1% of Israeli Jews described relations between the two communities as either bad or extremely bad, with only 15.7 saying they were good at all. In the Arab sector, 37.9% of Arabs said the relation of trust between them and Jewish Israelis was bad or extremely bad.
However, an overwhelming majority of those questioned from both communities - 80.7% of Jews and 85% of Arabs - said that they supported the study of other world religions within the education system. And more than half of the Jews, 52.7%, said that religious leaders from both sides could do more to improve levels of trust among members of the other group, with 32.9% of Arabs believing the same.
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