Supreme Court demands answers from the State of Israel - what is the cause?
62% of Israelis support women's Torah reading at Western Wall
Following the Supreme Court’s issuance of a Show Cause Order to the Government regarding the prohibition against women’s Torah readings at the Western Wall: Among secular Israelis 86% expressed their support, as did 61% of the traditional Jewish community.
The Supreme Court today issued a show cause order, ordering the State to explain within one month why women are not allowed to pray freely according to their customs at the traditional Western Wall prayer plaza. 62% of the Jewish public in Israel supports allowing groups of religious women to hold Torah readings in the women's section of the Western Wall plaza. 86% of secular Jewish Israelis support this, as does 61% of the traditional community. This telephone survey was conducted by the Smith Polling Institute in December 2016 among a representative sample of 500 adult Jewish Israelis.
The Show Cause Order issued by the Supreme Court is yet another step in the ongoing battle for the right of women to pray freely according to their customs at the Western Wall. We cannot predict what the Court will decide, but it is starkly clear that the vast majority of Jewish Israelis support the right of women to read the Torah in the women's section of the Western Wall plaza and reject the Chief Rabbinate's and the State's position that they should be prohibited from doing so. The public also rejects the Shas Party's legislative initiative to anchor Orthodox Jewish practice as the exclusive custom at the Western Wall, using its position as a Government Coalition member party as political blackmail.
Do you support or oppose permitting religious women's prayer groups to hold Torah readings in the women's section of the Western Wall plaza?
The wording of the survey question was as follows:
"Do you support or oppose permitting religious women's prayer groups to hold Torah readings in the women's section of the Western Wall plaza?"
62% were in support, of which 34% greatly supported this right, and 28% somewhat supported it. 38% expressed their opposition, of which 24% were greatly opposed, and 14% were somewhat opposed.
A majority of voters for the Coalition parties expressed their support for allowing religious women's prayer groups to hold Torah readings in the women's section of the Western Wall plaza. This includes 53% of Likud, 70% of Kulanu, and 88% of Yisrael Beiteinu voters. Even 43% of voters for the Zionist Orthodox Jewish Home party expressed their support. 86% of Shas voters and 100% of United Torah Judaism voters were opposed. Among voters for the Opposition parties, 85% of Zionist Union, 87% of Yesh Atid, and 100% Meretz were in support.
Notably, the survey data are consistent with previous surveys conducted by Hiddush. For example, according to the 2016 Israel Religion & State Index, released annually on the eve of Rosh HaShanah, 66% of Jewish Israeli adults expressed their support for the Government's Western Wall agreement, which would expand the egalitarian prayer plaza at the Robinson's Arch section of the Western Wall and give administrative control of it to the Reform & Conservative movements and Women of the Wall. 64% of Index respondents also supported the State of Israel officially granting equal status to the three major streams of Judaism - Conservative, Orthodox, and Reform.