Half of secular Israelis unwilling to have Haredi neighbors, poll says

1268 Israelis were included in the poll.

Border Police go about coronavirus inspections in Mea Shearim, a haredi neighborhood in Jerusalem. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Border Police go about coronavirus inspections in Mea Shearim, a haredi neighborhood in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Only 53% of secular Israelis are willing to live alongside Haredim, according to a poll conducted by the Aluma equality advocacy group and the ERI research institute.
 Evidently, hostility towards the Israeli Haredi sector is at an all-time high, which is no coincidence during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ultra-Orthodox community has come under fire recently for its defiance of health guidelines.
1268 Israelis were included in the poll, according to Israel Hayom. Most responded to the survey online, while a small percentage answered the questions over the phone.
According to the poll, 69% of secular Israels said they would rather have Arab neighbors than Haredi ones, and 62% said they would rather live next to Bedouins than the ultra-Orthodox.
On the other hand, 78% of Masorati (traditional) Israelis reported that they would not be opposed to having Haredi neighbors, 54% wouldn't mind living near Arabs, and 54% are open to living next door to Bedouins, according to Israel Hayom.
96% of religious Israelis reported that they would be open to having ultra-Orthodox neighbors, while 32% would not be opposed to living alongside Arabs, and 15% would be against having Bedouin neighbors, Israel Hayom reported.
When it comes to ultra-Orthodox poll participants, 12% reported that they would not be opposed to living alongside Arabs, and 15% reported they would oppose having Bedouin neighbors, according to Israel Hayom.
The results of the poll weren't completely hopeless regarding polarization between different sectors in Israel.
 The poll also collected data regarding each sector's attitude towards connecting with other sectors on social media.
Different sectors were open to connecting to each other: 77% of secular Israelis are not opposed to connecting with the ultra-Orthodox community on social media, 85% of Masorati Israelis are also opening to connecting with them, and 94% of religious Israelis would not be against connecting with them as well.
Meanwhile, 20% of Haredim were willing to connect with Arabs on social media, and 41% were open to connecting with Bedouins on social media.
"There's no doubt that the greatest tension exists between the ultra-Orthodox and secular Israelis," Dr. Gali Sambira, the author behind the study, told Israel Hayom.
"The conclusion that emerges from the poll is that liberals would like to be considered as such, but in reality, they are only liberal towards the sectors that are convenient for them. For example, they are liberal towards Arabs, but not towards Haredim, while traditional Israelis are liberal towards religious Israelis and the ultra-Orthodox. Each group considers itself to be liberal."
Sambira added: "The poll analyzed, among other things, whether the coronavirus increased the polarization. The answer is a whopping 'yes.'"
Despite the polarizing results, Sambira ended her statement to Israel Hayom with a hopeful vision for Israeli society: "At first look, the data makes it seem like the Israeli society is crumbling. But in my opinion, the data shows that it is possible to coexist side-by-side with the understanding that we are different. We must act now to allow groups that feel 'uncomfortable' to feel better when interacting with other sectors. Israeli society is extremely diverse; that has many advantages and disadvantages. The wisdom is to find the way we can live in the same city, even if we live in different neighborhoods."