Daily Israel Report

Survey: Israeli Jews Overwhelmingly Connected to Torah

Israel's secularity is being called into question by a survey suggesting Israelis have a stronger connection to the Torah than previously thought.
By Malkah Fleisher
First Publish: 6/1/2009, 3:46 PM

Israel's identity as a secular Jewish democracy is being called into question with the publication of a survey just before Shavuot suggesting Israelis have a stronger connection to Jewish holy books than many previously thought.

The survey, carried out by the Panels Institute, shows that almost every Israeli has a complete set of the Bible texts, a Jewish prayer book, or Five Books of Moses in their home. Only five percent of those polled said they had none of these items.

An overwhelming 63 percent of respondents said they had studied some sort of Jewish text in the last six months, with 22 percent of those polled saying they study on a daily basis.

The most popular classification of the Torah was as a "book of Jewish heritage," with 80 percent of respondents from all walks of religious life identifying it as such. Just 10 percent thought it was best characterized as a means of binding Jews to Jewish law.  Only seven percent called it "a collection of legends written by human authors."