Israeli Jews Becoming More Religious, Poll Finds

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85% Israeli Jews say Jewish holidays important; over 50% support instituting civil marriage.

Israeli Jews are becoming more religious, according to a study published Thursday by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) in conjunction with AVI CHAI. The survey, entitled “A Portrait of Israeli Jews: Beliefs, Observance, and Values of Israeli Jews,” examined levels of religiosity of Israeli Jews in comparison with levels in the 1990s.

Based on its prequel studies undertaken in 1991 and 1990, the report stated that there was a marked decline in attachment to Jewish tradition and religion prior to the turn of the century, probably as a result of mass immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union. The reversal of the trend, from 1999 to 2009, reflects either that the Slavic immigrants have been integrated into secular Israeli society or that that the orthodox and ultra-orthodox (haredi) communities are increasing in democratic weight.

In addition to finding that Israeli society as a whole has become more religious, the IDI study stated that both the orthodox and haredi communities “observe religious precepts more stringently than they did in the past.” This trend was not present in either of the “secular but not anti-religious” and “secular and anti-religious” groups, who have not become more religious since the 90s.

According to the study, a majority of Israeli Jews (85 percent) say that it is “important to celebrate Jewish festivals in the traditional manner,” but do so selectively. 90% celebrate the Passover Seder, while only 20% think it is important to study overnight Shavuot.

Regarding the status of women, the IDI study indicated significant differences of opinion on gender roles. 67% of haredim believe that the husband should work and support the family with the wife staying home to take care of the children, while only 35% of orthodox feel that way. Only 18-20% of the secular community are of that opinion.

73% of Israeli Jews feel that Israel and Diaspora Jews share a common destiny, while 61% feel that the Conservative and Reform movements should have equal status with the Orthodox.

“The results of the survey are evidence that Israeli Jews are committed to two significant values: preserving Jewish tradition, on the one hand, and upholding individual freedom of choice, on the other. This fascinating combination is a source of tension, but it is also the basis of a broad Israeli-Jewish consensus that facilitates coexistence in the twenty-first century,” said Dr. Eli Silver, director of AVI CHAI–Israel.


Originally from here

Picture by Wayne McLean from

Posted on Shalom Adventure by: Jeff Zaremsky

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