Summer 2010 Index

Summer 2010 Religion State Index

Religion and State Index for the second half of 2010

The second half of 2010 saw a significant rise in support for religious freedom and for greater equality in shouldering the national burden, according to the public opinion survey Religion and State Index – Summer 2010. The study was carried out by the Smith Research Institute on behalf of Hiddush – Religious Freedom for Israel. The survey found that 80% of the Jewish public is opposed to new religious legislation, compared to 70% in the winter index. 59% of the public wants a separation of religion and state, compared to 55% in the previous index. 61% support recognition for all types of marriage, up from 55% in the winter index. 75% support reducing funding for yeshivas, compared to 68% half a year ago. This year, which contained so many incidents in the areas of religion and state, also impacted the national agenda. Nearly three quarters of the Jewish public in Israel (73%) view the tension between ultra-Orthodox and secular Jews as the greatest (49%) or second-greatest tension (24%) in Jewish society. This represents a substantial increase, up from 65% in the winter index. Next in severity comes the tension between the political right and left, with only 44%. The tension between Mizrahim and Ashkenazim received only 23% despite the Immanuel affair. The head of Hiddush, Rabbi Uri Regev, said in response: “A wide and profound chasm yawns between the public’s desire for religious freedom and equality in shouldering the burden and the coalition’s fire sale of rights belonging to the Zionist majority. It is difficult to understand the government members who are wrapping up another year of giving in to the haredi parties’ extortion, and it looks like they are readily marching toward a new year of kowtowing to the tyranny of the haredi minority.” Regev added: “Benjamin Netanyahu will not be able for long to let the wheeler-dealers of the haredi parties impose religious fanaticism here, transfer astronomical sums from the public coffers to their institutions, and perpetuate the shirking of military service, work, and education. He will not be able for long to continue with the policy that is causing irreparable damage to the state’s economy and to its security. The conclusion is clear: A civilian emergency government must be formed to carry out the necessary civilian revolution and stop the buying of government at the expense of our children’s future.” The Religion and State Index is a semi-annual public opinion study that Hiddush commissions to monitor the state of mind on matters of religion and state. The study is published twice a year, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah and the eve of Passover. The current index is based on a poll that was conducted in mid-July among an unusually large sample of 800 people from the adult Jewish population. As usual, the index checked the public’s attitude toward a long list of matters that preoccupied it this year.

Take Action!