World

Pew Research: Israel Divided On Religion

| by Jimmy King
The flag of the state of IsraelThe flag of the state of Israel

On March 8, the Pew Research Center released a comprehensive study regarding religious and political preferences in Israel. The study was conducted by a thorough survey of over 5,000 Israeli citizens from 2014 through 2015. 

According to the study, an overwhelming majority of Israeli citizens believe that Israel should be a place for Jews around the world to call home. Roughly 98 percent of Israeli Jews, across lines of religious sects, said Jews should be able to move to Israel and receive immediate citizenship. 

Despite the overwhelming consensus on welcoming Jews from abroad into Israel, the study found that different sects of Jews tend to disagree on many public policy issues.

The majority (89 percent) of ultra-Orthodox Jews said Jewish tradition should take precedence over democratic ideals when they come into conflict. In contrast, an equally large share of secular Jews hold that democratic values should be held above religious law. 

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The study also revealed that many Jews believe Israel plays an essential role in protecting the future of Judaism. A total of 91 percent of Israelis polled said a Jewish state is needed for the enduring survival of the Jewish people, and 76 percent of Israeli Jews said anti-Semitism is rising around the world.

The study comes as reports of anti-Semitism have been rising globally, particularly in Europe. A 2013 European Union survey found that roughly one third of European Jews said they have “seriously considered emigrating” due to a rise in anti-Semitism, according to the Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism (CFCAS). A poll released by the CFCAS in January also revealed that 40 percent of leaders of European Jewish communities believe anti-Semitism is the most serious threat to the future of Jewish life in their country.

Following an attack on a Jewish supermarket in Paris in 2015, French Jewish philosopher Alain Finkielkraut noted the plight of Jews in the country as anti-Semitism escalates, The Atlantic reports.

“People don’t defend the Jews as we expect to be defended," Finkielkraut said. "It would be easier for the left to defend the Jews if the attackers were white and rightists."

“We should not leave," Finkielkraut added, "but maybe for our children or grandchildren there will be no choice."

Sources: The Atlantic, CFCAS, Pew Research Center / Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Zachi Evenor/Flickr

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