58% of Jewish Israelis believe one must be Jewish to be a ‘real Israeli’

“Pluralism Index 2020” of the Jewish People’s Policy Institute finds that 55% of non-Jewish Israelis believe ‘many’ or a majority of Israelis Jews are political extremists

Israelis watch fireworks on Independence Day  (photo credit: ALONI MOR)
Israelis watch fireworks on Independence Day
(photo credit: ALONI MOR)
Some 58 percent of Jewish Israelis believe that one must be Jewish to be a “real Israeli,” while 55% of the non-Jewish population believe “many” or the majority of Israelis Jews are political extremists, according to a new survey by the Jewish People’s Policy Institute.
The JPPI’s 2020 “Pluralism Index” published on Thursday looked at numerous aspects of religious, national, and societal beliefs and viewpoints amongst Israel’s various population sectors such as Zionist ideology, religious pluralism, and the Law of Return.
According to the findings, 58% of Israeli Jews either somewhat agree or totally agree with the statement that “To be a ‘real Israeli’ you must be Jewish,” while 41% somewhat or totally disagreed.
At the same time, 55% of the non-Jewish population believe “many” or the majority of Israeli Jews are political extremists, compared to 35% who said very few or few were. 
And nearly half, some 48%, of non-Jewish Israelis said there never was a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount, with 20% saying there was and 33% saying they did not know.
Another key finding was that 74% of Arab citizens of Israel stated that their main identity was either Arab-Israeli (51%) or Israeli (23%), compared to 22% who said their main identity was Arab (15%) or Palestinian (7%).
But only 33% of non-Jewish Israelis say they feel like “a real Israeli, compared to 73% of Jewish Israelis.
Of Jewish respondents, 74% of ultra-Orthodox Israelis said they felt “very much” (54%) or a fair amount (20%) like a real Israeli, while 75% of the non ultra-Orthodox said they felt very much like a real Israeli and 19% said a fair amount.
The study also examined attitudes to the Law of Return, one of Israel’s most fundamental laws which allows all Jews, as well as their spouses, children and grandchildren to immigrate to the Jewish state and gain citizenship.
The law has been criticized of late, including by both chief rabbis of Israel, due to the relatively high number of immigrants to Israel who are not Jewish according to Jewish law.
Of Jewish Israelis polled, 49% said however that the law should not be changed, compared to 41% who said it should be changed or repealed.
Out of those 41%, 11% who said that the law should allow only non-Jewish children of Jews to immigrate and not non-Jewish grandchildren, 24% said the Law of Return should only apply to Jews, and 6% said the law should be repealed.
Another contentious issue, that of public transport on Shabbat, was also surveyed, and it was found that 71% of Jewish Israelis think there should be some form of public transport on Shabbat, compared to 26% who thought it should be completely banned.
And there was bad news for the Chief Rabbinate, with 86% of Israeli Jews stating that the body should either be abolished, have its authority reduced, or improve its functioning, compared to 15% who said it was a “vital and functional body.”
The 2020 Pluralism Survey was conducted by Prof. Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University and included included 604 respondents from Israel’s Jewish sector with a margin of error of 4%, and 273 respondents from Israel’s non-Jewish sector with a margin of error of 5.9%.