40% of Jewish Israelis Want Prayer on Temple Mount

High support for Temple Mount prayer rights, poll reveals, but optimism is low that an equal prayer arrangement will be made.

Tova Dvorin,

Muslims pray to Mecca from Temple Mount
Muslims pray to Mecca from Temple Mount
Flash 90

Almost 40% of the Jewish population in Israel believes in changing government policy surrounding Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount - even at the cost of bloodshed, according to a survey by the "Peace Index" published Monday by the Guttman Center at the Israel Democracy Institute and the Evens Program for Solution Conflict Resolution at Tel Aviv University.

Despite this, 56% of respondents still believe in restricting Jews from praying on the Mount to "prevent friction with the Muslim world." 

In the same vein, nearly half (47%) support the ruling of the majority of hareidi and national-religious rabbus that Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount is forbidden, but about a quarter (26%) support the ruling of those rabbis who permit Jews to pray on the Temple Mount today.

Segmentation by religiosity of respondents indicated that among traditional-religious, religious and traditional non-religious were the most supportive of changing the "status quo" regarding the Temple Mount, (respectively 49%, 46.5% and 44%), whereas among the secular and hareidi respondents, support was far lower (34% and 17%). Specifically, 96% of hareidi respondents were against contesting the rabbinic rulings forbidding prayer on the Temple Mount, compared with 60% among the national-religious. However, 33% of the secular respondents declined to answer this set of questions. 

Respondents were further asked whether or not they believe an agreement could be reached with the Muslim Waqf regarding the Temple Mount.  

The survey found that less than one third of Israeli Jews (31%) believe there is now a chance to reach an agreement that will allow members of both faiths to pray there, while the majority think there is a chance for an agreement - whether due to the Muslims who support such a ruling (30%), because of Israeli Jews (4%), or because of both combined (29%). 

The survey was conducted by telephone by the research institute Midgam, from November 3-5, 2014. A total of 603 respondents answered questions, constituting a representative national sample of the entire adult population aged 18 and over. The maximum sampling error for the entire sample was ± 4.1% with 95% accuracy.

The survey follows Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declaration recently that his intention is to maintain the "status quo" at the site, whereby Jews are forbidden to pray as a response to Muslim pressure - despite round after round of Arab rioting. 

The PM emphasized that Jews would continue to be allowed to visit, but than a ban on praying would remain.