Heading for a Wedding
Smith Poll for Hiddush: 83% of Israeli Secular Jews do not object to a family member marrying a patrilineal Jewish partner
Hiddush releases public opinion statistics on freedom of marriage on the eve of Knesset lobby for Civil Equality and Pluralism. Rabbi Regev, Hiddush CEO: "We should not miss this historic opportunity created the recent elections to establish civil marriage in Israel."
Russian immigrants marry an informal marriage ceremony on Valentine's Dayon Dizengoff Square. The bride is not recognized in Israel as a Jew, so the couple can not marry in Israel officially. 04.08.2009. Photography: Miriam Alster, Flash 90
The Smith Research Institute and Hiddush – Freedom of Religion for Israel conducted a poll which found that 57% of the Jewish population in Israel (83% of secular Jews) do not object to a family member marrying a partner who comes from an immigrant family and whose father is Jewish, but mother is not. The polling data was released anticipation of the launching of the Knesset lobby for Civil Equality and Pluralism, headed by MK Nitzan Horovitz (Meretz) which is taking place in the Knesset on Monday, March 4, 2013. The gathering will focus on the battle over freedom of marriage in Israel.
The inquiry focused on attitudes of Israeli Jews regarding marriage to a spouse who is not Jewish according to Orthodox Jewish law. Among the new immigrants themselves, 77% expressed no objection to this situation while 23% did object. The Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox populations, however, consistently oppose a potential marriage between a family member and a patrilineal Jew; 93% among the orthodox, 94% among ultra-Orthodox. The annual "Israel Religion and State Index" conducted by the Smith institute for Hiddush, continuously demonstrates that approximately 60% of the Jewish Israelis support government recognition of all options of marriage (including civil marriage and marriages officiated by Reform and Conservative Rabbis). In the 2012 Index, 59% of the Jewish population expressed support for freedom of marriage. Of the new immigrants that were polled, 90% support recognition of all forms of marriage and among secular Jews, 86% are in support. Among those who were planning to vote for Yesh Atid, support was at 85%.
The overwhelming majority of the public clearly rejects the current reality in which hundreds of thousands of new immigrants are denied the basic human right of created a legally-protected family."
Rabbi Uri Regev, President of Hiddush, said that, "these findings unequivocally demonstrate that the general public is eager to see civil marriage introduced in Israel as well as recognition of marriage in the non-orthodox denominations. This reflects both the wide public support of freedom of religion and also a desire to ensure the integration and absorption of new immigrant families, which includes the ability to legally marry in Israel. The overwhelming majority of the public clearly rejects the current reality in which hundreds of thousands of new immigrants are denied the basic human right of created a legally-protected family."
Rabbi Regev emphasized that, "the elections created a historic opportunity to establish civil marriage in Israel as was repeatedly promised by Yesh Atid chair, Yair Lapid. We should not allow this opportunity slip by." Regev called on the "Jewish Home" to recognize that " the fundamentalist orthodox monopoly over marriage and divorce is one of the most devisive issues among Jews in Israel and around the world. Not only will introducing freedom of marriage not split the people, it will draw the general public closer to Judaism and help alleviate many of the current societal frictions."
*The poll was conducted in mid- January 2013 among a representative sample of 500 respondents representing the adult Jewish population in Israel. The question posed to the respondents was "Would you object on principle to a male or female family member marrying a new immigrant spouse whose father is Jewish and mother is not?"