The January 2018 Peace Index

New polling reaffirms Hiddush finding.

The January 2018 issue of the monthly Peace Index, published jointly by Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute, touches upon key confrontation points along the spectrum of religion-state issues on the public's and political class's minds at this time.

The January 2018 Peace Index reaffirms both Hiddush's findings and our view that these issues hold a major key to understanding the complex nature of Israeli politics and the way out of this embarrassing and harmful anomaly, which is to overcome the great void between the Israeli public's will and the actions of Israel's politicians.




Opening businesses on Shabbat: Against the backdrop of the ongoing struggles over the nature of Shabbat in Israel, and the move by Interior Minister Deri to tighten enforcement among the local authorities via the “convenience-stores law,” we gauged where the Jewish public stands on this question. We presented the interviewees with a list of seven kinds of businesses and requested that, for each one of them, they indicate the extent to which they support or oppose its being open on Shabbat. The responses we obtained show that, for six out of the seven types of businesses, a majority of the public prefers them to be open on Shabbat. At the top of the ladder of support for being open on Shabbat are cafes (68.5%) and cinemas (68%). Slightly behind them are public transportation (64%) and convenience stores and private health clinics (61%). A smaller majority also favors opening supermarkets on Shabbat (56.5%). The only category that a small minority (52%) opposes being open on Shabbat is that of garages. The table below presents a segmentation of the preferences on this issue by degree of religiosity. Clearly, the large disparity in preferences on this issue is between the secular and the nonreligious traditional on the one hand, and the religious traditional, religious, and haredim on the other.

Secular % Non-religious traditional % Religious traditional % Religious % Haredim %
Cafes 97 82 30 18 5
Cinemas 94 78 47 29 5
Public transportation 91 76 25 23 2
Convenience stores 91 70 24.5 14.5 2
Private health clinics 67 61 52 29.5 14
Supermarkets 89 61 21 5 0
Garages 63 51 13 13 2

Devoting themselves to Torah study? We sought responses to the claim that the study of Torah by haredi young people protects Israel no less than the military service of non-haredi young people. A majority of the Jewish public (70%) disagrees with that claim. A segmentation by religiosity again reveals the divide: on one side, only a minority of the secular and the nonreligious traditional agree with it (4% and 8% respectively), whereas the rates of the religious traditional, religious, and haredim who agree with it are 45%, 54%, and 98% respectively.

Haredim in the government: Only a minority of the Jewish public (27%) prefers a government that includes the haredi parties, while the majority (53%) prefers a government without them. Again, and not surprisingly, we found a close correspondence to the ladder of religiosity. The rates of those wanting a government with the haredi parties were: 5% of the secular, 21% of the nonreligious traditional, 53% of the religious traditional, 60% of the religious, and 81% of the haredim.


Only a minority of the Jewish public (27%) prefers a government that includes the haredi parties, while the majority (53%) prefers a government without them.

The Peace Index distinguishes between two demographic groups among Israel's "traditional" Jewish population, which Hiddush has repeatedly emphasized the critical distinction between [as defined by the Central Bureau of Statistics]: 1) "traditional, close to religion, and 2) "traditional, not so close to religion." It is important to realize that many among the second group share the secular public's views on policies in terms of the clash of religion and state.

It is a sad fact that Israel's political "powers that be" are self-righteous (without any basis in reality) when they claim to be the genuine representatives of the public's will on matters of religion and state. The opposite is true, as is borne out in the Peace Index, as well as in Hiddush's repeated polling! The overwhelming majority of the public wants a government coalition without the Haredi parties. The public wants them out of governmental positions!

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