Wide support for gay marriage as Israel celebrates Pride

“The gulf between the Israeli public will and the government’s policies is widening.”

Gay marriage  (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Gay marriage
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Ahead of the Tel Aviv Pride Parade on Friday, a poll has shown that 79% of Jewish Israelis support the establishment of same-sex marriage or civil unions for gay couples.
These latest figures demonstrate the wide support for some form of state-recognized union for homosexual couples. The support has been on the rise over the last decade.
In the survey, those polled were asked, “Do you think same-sex couples should be permitted to marry or have civil unions in Israel?”
The poll was conducted on June 5 and 6 on a sample of 500 Jewish Israeli adults and has a margin of error of 4.5%.
Somewhat surprisingly, the poll, conducted by the Rafi Smith Polling Institute for the Hiddush religious pluralism organization, showed that a clear plurality of national-religious citizens support same-sex marriage or gay civil unions, with 47% in favor and 43% against.
The survey also demonstrated overwhelming support among voters of every Jewish political party in Knesset, except the haredi parties United Torah Judaism and Shas, for gay marriage or civil unions, including Bayit Yehudi voters, who favored it by 65% to 35%.
Support for same-sex marriage and unions was therefore extremely high among voters for coalition parties, including 84% of Likud voters, 83% of Yisrael Beytenu voters, and 90% of Kulanu voters.
One hundred percent of Zionist Union and Meretz voters support gay marriage and unions, along with 94% of Yesh Atid voters.
Overall, support for same-sex marriage and unions has seen rapid and sustained growth over the last eight years.
In 2009, a small majority of 53% of all Jewish Israelis supported gay marriage and unions, compared to 79% today.
Hiddush director Rabbi Uri Regev was critical of the government’s failure to implement gay marriage or unions against the background of widespread public support for the idea.
“The gulf between the Israeli public will and the government’s policies is widening,” said Regev.
“While the Jewish public is increasingly open and supportive of the realization of individual freedoms in the spirit of Israel’s Declaration of Independence, which promised freedom of religion and conscience for all, the Israeli government coalition kowtows to the ultra-Orthodox political parties, perpetuating state-enforced religious coercion and infringement of civil rights and human dignity in Israel.
“These important findings give us a foundation for hope and pride that the necessary change will come, and Hiddush will do its best to ensure that it will come soon,” Regev said.
According to Hiddush, there are some 284,000 gay people in the country, who cannot marry due to the lack of civil marriage or state recognition for gay marriage.