Most Israeli Jews support Jewish pluralism, civil marriage

Dr. Mike Ghouse   May 11, 2016   Comments Off on Most Israeli Jews support Jewish pluralism, civil marriage

The entire world is grasping the idea of Pluralism, which is nothing new, the idea of respecting the otherness of others is as old as Adam.  Mike Ghouse

JPPI survey says 80% of Israelis believe traditional, Orthodox, secular are all ‘equally good’; 56% advocate ‘more consideration’ for minorities

May 8, 2016, 7:01 pm
A Haredi and a secular Jew praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. (Serge Attal/Flash90)

A Haredi and a secular Jew praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. (Serge Attal/Flash90)
Most Israeli Jews support increased Jewish pluralism in Israel, and are in favor of the right to freedom of marriage, a survey released on Sunday found.

The poll, published by The Jewish People Policy Institute, found that more than 60 percent of Israeli Jews back the legalization of civil marriages in the country.

Over 80% said that Israeli Jews who identify as traditional, Orthodox and secular are all “equally good Jews,” and 56% of respondents said the government should be “much more considerate” of the views of minority groups.

Some 44% said they supported the integration of non-Jews into the school system.

The study, conducted as part of the Jewish pluralism in Israel Index with the support of the William Davidson Foundation, polled 1,000 Israeli Jewish adults, of whom 31% described themselves as completely secular, 21% secular-traditional, 23% traditional, 10% religious, 10% ultra-Orthodox and 4% liberal-religious.

The institute defined Jewish pluralism as “the condition in which Jews in Israel and abroad, from different social, ideological and religious groups, regardless of sex or ethnicity, should have an equal chance to bring their differences to the public arena.”

Although most respondents indicated support for greater pluralism in Israeli society, some sharp differences remained on how increased religious freedom should be implemented in the Jewish state.

Over half of respondents said they opposed “Jews marrying non-Jews,” and most also disagreed with women wearing phylacteries at the Western Wall.

Members of the 'Women of the Wall' organization wear phylacteries as they pray at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, in Jerusalem on January 02, 2014. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Members of the ‘Women of the Wall’ organization wear phylacteries as they pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on January 2, 2014. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The poll further found that 90% of respondents reported feeling “comfortable” or “very comfortable” with themselves in Israel, though those who identified as right-wingers (22% of all respondents) were significantly more likely to respond as such than left-wingers (4.9% of all respondents).

The survey also examined the public attitudes and perceived contribution of the different groups and population sectors.

By a wide margin, Israel Defense Forces soldiers topped the list as contributing the most to the Jewish state. At the bottom were Israeli Muslim Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox communities, two groups who traditionally have the lowest proportional presence in the army.

In contrast, Israeli Druze, a small Arabic-speaking community whose young adults generally volunteer to serve in the IDF, ranked significantly higher on the scale of groups contributing to society.

Diaspora Jews were also viewed in a more positive light than Israelis who left the Jewish state to live abroad.

According to the JPPI, the poll, which is part of a larger work on pluralism in Israel and the Jewish people, focused on “Jewish Israelis.”

“The index comes to provide an annual objective measurement concerning the ability of every Jew to feel at home in the Jewish state,” a statement from the institute said.

“It seems there is a significant gap between the problematic image of Israel among some of world Jewry as a liberal, open and embracing society and the image that is presented by the index.”

According to JPPI president Avinoam Bar-Yosef, the differences in responses are representative of the ongoing debate over Israel’s Jewish identity.

“The differences result from a clear majority’s wish to preserve a framework of unity Jewish character of the country and the agenda of diaspora communities, mainly liberals, who want the state to include anyone who identifies as Jewish and desires a connection to their roots,” he said.

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