A Hiddush Survey on permitting businesses to remain open on Shabbat
78% support permitting Tel Aviv shops to operate on Shabbat
78% of Jewish Israeli support permitting convenience stores to remain open on Shabbat in Tel Aviv, including 67% of voters for the Zionist Orthodox Jewish Home party.
78% of the Jewish public supports the operation of shops in Tel Aviv on Shabbat, including 98% of secular Jews and 86% of traditional Jews. 59% believe local authorities should be responsible for establishing bylaws regarding the operation of businesses on Shabbat, without any involvement from the national government.
This telephone survey was conducted in January among a representative sample of 500 adult Jewish Israelis by the Smith Polling Institute for Hiddush - Religious Freedom and Equality, in light of the State submitting its response on this matter to the Supreme Court on January 23, 2017.
This Hiddush survey clearly shows that the Jewish public supports changing the existing restrictions and prohibitions on Shabbat, and prefers that this issue be left to the discretion of local authorities, rather than the national government. In this matter, as in many other matters of religion & state, the Government and the Coalition claim to represent the people's preferences, but are actually acting directly against the public will. They are only concerned with one thing: gaining the ultra-Orthodox political parties' votes, thereby giving in to their extortion.
The first survey question was "Which of the following positions do you support in the argument over allows shops in Tel Aviv to operate on Shabbat:" 54% of respondents supported "the bylaw passed by the Tel Aviv municipality to permit the opening of 160 businesses on Shabbat," and 24% supported "permission to open businesses on a more limited basis, in terms of quantity, and in terms of their locations and their natures." In other words, 78% support the operation of shops in Tel Aviv on Shabbat, including 98% of secular Jews, 86% of traditional Jews, 34% of Zionist Orthodox Jews, and 10% of ultra-Orthodox Jews. Only 22% of the public supports "accepting the ultra-Orthodox political parties' demand not to approve the municipal bylaw to allow businesses to open on Shabbat." These three responses were exactly those alternatives proposed by a special committee of the directors of the Interior, Justice, Religious Services and Economy ministries, chaired by the Prime Minister’s Office director-general, which was tasked with drawing up options the government could adopt regarding the operation of businesses in Tel Aviv on Shabbat.
There has been a consistent and significant rise in the level of public support for permitting businesses to remain open on Shabbat over the years.
Support for permitting businesses to remain open on Shabbat in Tel Aviv was high among voters for the Coalition parties: 74% of Likud, 92% of Kulanu, 100% of Yisrael Beiteinu, and 67% of Jewish Home party voters support this. 31% of Shas party and 11% of United Torah Judaism party voters also expressed their support. Among the Opposition parties: 97% of Zionist Union, 95% of Yesh Atid, and 100% of Meretz voters expressed their support for permitting businesses to remain open on Shabbat in Tel Aviv.
Hiddush has been tracking public opinion on matters of religion & state for years, including the question of Shabbat in Israel, and there has been a consistent and significant rise in the level of public support for permitting businesses to remain open on Shabbat over the years. For example, in a previous survey held on the same matter last year, 72% of respondents expressed their support for the operation of shopping centers on Shabbat, showing a 6% increase in support. The wording of the question last year was: "In Tel Aviv and other cities, kiosks, convenience stores, and shops operate on Shabbat. Do you support or oppose the operation of such stores in these cities on Shabbat?" In the 2013 Israel Religion & State Index, 59% of Israeli Jews supported permitting convenience stores, kiosks, and shops to remain open on Shabbat in such cities.
The second survey question in the current survey examined public opinion on whether the national government should intervene in the passage of municipal bylaws on the matter of Shabbat. The findings clearly show that the public would prefer that the government not interfere in this matter, and among those who support municipal bylaws - most oppose giving Interior Minister Rabbi Deri (Shas Party) or any other religious Minister the authority to determine this matter. "Which of the following three bodies should, in your opinion, have the authority to approve municipal bylaws on the matter of businesses being open on Shabbat:" 59% believe that "the authority should be local, without intervention from the national government." 91% of secular Jews agree with this. A majority of resident of all regions of Israel expressed their support for this position: 65% of the Southern region, 72% of the Northern region, 68% of the Tel Aviv region, 64% of the Jerusalem region, 77% of the Haifa region, and 75% of the Central region.
14% of respondents believe that "authority [in this matter] should be given to Interior Minister Rabbi Deri" and 11% believe that "authority [in this matter] should be given to the Prime Minister or another religious Minister." 16% of respondents did not give their opinions on this matter.