Majority think religious legislation hurts Judaism

Poll by religious group shows majority of Israelis, think aspects of religious laws problematic, especially as they concern marriage.

Shai Landesman ,

Jewish wedding (illustration)
Jewish wedding (illustration)

A new poll conducted by Smith Consulting for the "Ne'emanei Torah Va'avodah" religious-Zionist organization, shows a majority of Israelis think that various aspects of religious legislation in Israel alienates citizens from Jewish tradition.

The largest percentage came in response to the question of whether the fact that legal marriages in Israel have to go through the Rabbinate causes more Israelis to choose to get married abroad in civil ceremonies devoid of religious content. 80% of the total population said yes, with 73% of the traditional respondents saying likewise and 56% of religious people also saying they agree with this assessment.

As a result, 68% of Israelis support the state-recognition of non-Rabbinate weddings conducted in Israel.

The poll was conducted ahead of the Israeli summer wedding-season, which usually begins after the Jewish calendar mourning period ends after Tisha B'av.

The question of whether the amount and content of religious legislation today distances Israelis from Judaism yielded a more balanced response, with 56% saying yes, and 61% saying the status quo must be changed. Among the religious sector, however, 63% said no.

Ne'emanei Torah Va'avodah supports the "democratization" and decentralization of the Chief Rabbinate, so as to "offer all Jewish Israelis the opportunity to live according to the religious lifestyle that speaks to them."

Shmuel Shattach, the head of Ne'emanei Torah Va'avodah, said about the poll: "The survey that we carried out slaughters a few holy cows. First, it proves once and for all that opposition to the current situation in the field of religion and the state does not mean opposition to religion. On the contrary, many of those who are really worried about religion are opposed to the existing religious legislation precisely because of this worry. The survey even proves directly and indirectly that the arrangements between religion and the state anchored in the status quo are in fact distancing Israelis from Judaism

"The time has come that Israeli politicians, including the religious ones, finally make a switch and start reflecting the sentiments of many within Israeli society, including those for whom tradition and religion are close to their heart, through actions directed at rearranging the relations of religion and the state."