The Prime Minister must represent the Israeli public and the needs of the State

73% support the Israeli Supreme Court's ruling regarding Shabbat

73% of the Jewish public in Israel supports the High Court of Justice's ruling, which approved the Tel Aviv municipal ordinance concerning the operation of business on Shabbat. This includes 97% of secular Israeli Jews, 72% of Tel Aviv residents, and most of the voters for the civil Government Coalition parties.

These data emerged from a Hiddush public opinion survey conducted by the Smith Polling Institute, conducted on April 26-27 among a representative sample of Israel's adult Jewish population in advance of Prime Minister Netanyahu's meeting with the heads of the ultra-Orthodox political parties. The ultra-Orthodox political parties are expected to present their demand for Shabbat legislation after their recent threats to topple the Government against the backdrop of the Shabbat battles.

Israel is grappling with a variety of issues related to the challenge of its identity as a 'Jewish and democratic' State. The ultra-Orthodox parties have repeatedly used their political clout to impose their will upon the Israeli public and push the State toward theocracy, ignoring the majority of the public's will. It is an obvious fact that the public prefers a more lenient approach to Shabbat prohibitions in the public sphere, while maintaining the special character of Shabbat, compared to the rest of the week. Indeed, the Supreme Court's ruling respected the public's will and gave proper expression to the balance contained in the formula of 'Jewish and democratic,' granting local authorities the right to decide such matters based upon municipal public opinion. We hope that the balance supported by the Supreme Court will maintained. It is essential that the Prime Minister represent the public and the needs of the State, and not give in to threats - and that the Opposition parties declare that they will not join with the ultra-Orthodox parties to topple the government!

The survey question was as follows: "Following the Supreme Court's ruling to approve the Tel Aviv municipality's ordinance to open three commercial areas and a limited number of mini-markets in other parts of the city on Shabbat (approx. 160, instead of the 300 that operate today), the ultra-Orthodox political parties are demanding legislation to nullify the Court's ruling and prevent the opening of such businesses, even on a limited scale, at the discretion of local authorities. Which of the following positions do you support: The Supreme Court ruling that approved the municipal ordinance or the demands of the ultra-Orthodox political parties for legislation to bypass the Supreme Court."

73% responded that they support the High Court of Justice's ruling, which approved the municipal Shabbat ordinance.

73% responded that they support the High Court of Justice's ruling, which approved the municipal Shabbat ordinance. This includes 97% of secular Jewish Israelis, 91% of traditional Jewish Israelis (not so close to religion), 60% of traditional Jewish Israelis (close to religion), 27% of Zionist Orthodox Jews, and 4% of ultra-Orthodox Israelis. 72% of Tel Aviv residents support the High Court's decision, while only 27% support the ultra-Orthodox parties' demand for legislation to bypass the Court.

In a previous Hiddush survey conducted in January, it emerged that 71% of the Jewish public supports the allowing the local authorities to make such decisions, rather than the Minister of the Interior (only 16%) or the Prime Minister or any other Orthodox Government Minister (13%).

Knesset Member David Amsalem (Likud) said that "the status quo must be preserved at the Western Wall and on Shabbat, and this is the position of most Likud voters." In light of his past support for the ultra-Orthodox political parties' positions, it is not surprising that MK Amsalem's words are wrong and misleading: According to the survey, 63% of Likud voters support the Supreme Court ruling! This support is shared by 87% of Kulanu voters, 100% of Yisrael Beiteinu voters, and 42% of Jewish Home voters. In the previous survey, only 26% of Likud voters voiced support the ultra-Orthodox parties' demand that the Tel Aviv ordinance by abolished so that all mini-markets would be closed on Shabbat in Tel Aviv.

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