2016 Israel Religion & State Index

By Olga Paniel, Rafi Smith

Hiddush - For Religious Freedom and Equality, September 2016

Executive Summary


Weddings outside the auspices of the official State Rabbinate: The number of respondents who do not want Orthodox weddings for themselves or for their children increase dramatically from 37% in 2015 to 47% this year. Among secular Israeli Jews, 78% (i.e. 4 out of 5) are not interested in having Orthodox weddings.

Core curricular studies requirements: An unlawful exemption from core curricular studies. 82% of the Jewish public supports requiring State funded ultra-Orthodox schools to teach mathematics, English, science, and civics. 72% support withholding government funding from schools that refuse to teach the core curriculum.

Support for separation: The public's support for separating religion and state continues to rise. 63% expressed their support for separation, compared to 61% during the past two years and 55% in most previous surveys.

Government funding for yeshivas - cut it! The government budget for yeshivas was doubled. 79% of the Jewish public believes this budget should be cancelled (39%), or cut down to a quarter or half of its current size (40%).

Demand for a pluralistic Western Wall: 55% of the Jewish population say they would visit and use a pluralistic Western Wall plaza area. Of these, 34% would prefer it, and 21% would have no problem using it if it were to become a designated pluralistic prayer space.

Kashrut outside the auspices of the official State Rabbinate: 81% of the Jewish public favors establishing an open market for kashrut supervision and dissolving the Rabbinate's monopoly on kashrut. Of them, 51% support opening the kashrut market to organizations of all Jewish streams, and 29% favor only opening the kashrut market to Orthodox organizations.

A Religious Freedom political party? 54% of secular Israeli Jews and 38% of the public responded that there is a very high or somewhat high probability that they would vote for a potential, newly established political party which would work towards religious freedom and equality of civic burden.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews support employee benefits. Surprisingly, 52% of Shas and United Torah Judaism voters support the government giving preference to those who are working or seeking work when it comes to receiving government benefits.



The Shas party is satisfied. 81% of the Jewish Israeli public is not satisfied with the government's religion and state activities. Shas is the only party with a majority of voters who expressed satisfaction with the government in this arena.

Yeshiva study is not a livelihood: 79% of the Jewish public are in favor of all ultra-Orthodox men entering the workforce (37%) or significantly reducing the number of ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students in Israel (42%).

Civic service is a must: After the Knesset's reversal of the conscription law - 83% of the Jewish public and 91% of the non-Haredi public believe that all yeshiva students or most yeshiva students must serve in Israel's armed forces or do some form of national service.

Topic: Arab-Israeli Relations, Israeli Jews, Israeli Politics, Israel, Israeli Culture, Israeli-Arab Relations, Israeli Arabs

Funder: Israel Religious Expression Platform , Stanley, Marion, Paul and Edward Bergman Foundation

Genre: Report

Coverage: Israel

Language: English

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Paniel, Olga. Smith, Rafi. 2016 Israel Religion & State Index. Hiddush - For Religious Freedom and Equality. September 2016: http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=22595


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