71% of the population supports Shabbat transportation, and a dramatic 78% favors the IDF conscription of yeshiva students, according to the recent Hiddush annual religion and state index for 2023.
Amid the ever-present conflict between ultra-Orthodox and secular Jews, the new findings indicate heightened tensions surrounding the operation of public transportation on Shabbat and the conscription of yeshiva students to the IDF.
The sharp divide between Israel's ultra-Orthodox and secular communities is becoming more pronounced. Recent incidents have fueled these tensions, from disputes over transportation during Shabbat to the growing debate on military service exemptions for ultra-Orthodox youths. These disagreements, long-standing in Israeli discourse, seem to be reaching a boiling point as shown in this year's survey.
Trust in the Supreme Court has seen a concerning drop to 36%. The significant decline hints at a potential crisis in public faith in the judiciary. Many speculate the reasons, ranging from recent controversial rulings to an overall distrust in governmental bodies.
In the midst of these tensions, 62% are in favor of Diaspora Jewish organizations playing a role in promoting religious freedom and pluralism in Israel.
Commenting on the findings, Rabbi Uri Regev, a staunch advocate for religious freedom in Israel and Hiddush CEO, remarked, "These statistics are indicative of a pivotal moment for Israeli society. The widening chasm between religious communities, along with declining trust in central institutions, is a red flag for all invested in Israel's unity and future."
Israelis are tired of funding yeshiva students
Other statistics from the survey included that 69% of respondents support slashing or completely abolishing yeshiva funding, despite the government's decision to increase said funding. Furthermore, despite the government's favor towards ultra-Orthodox education, 77% of adult Jews oppose this preferential treatment.
Responses also pointed towards evolving marriage preferences. While 53% still lean towards Orthodox marriage, 24% of the secular public prefer virtual "Utah marriages" via Zoom, and 30% of the secular Jewish public favor cohabitation without a formal marriage.
The Hiddush report highlights several other relevant issues, such as the inclusion of religious studies in public education and women's role in religious ceremonies.