Soldier and haredi at Kotel
Soldier and haredi at KotelUri Lenz/Flash 90

The Gesher organization released on Tuesday the first comprehensive index of social attitudes toward the issue of unity in Israel. 

The Israel Unity Index, commissioned as part of the Jerusalem Unity Prize, will serve as an annual gauge over what is considered one of Israeli society's biggest challenges. 

According to the study, conducted on a sample group of 511 Israelis by the Zofnat Research Institute, 46 percent of Israelis view disunity as a significant social problem they think about on a regular basis. 

The study found a clear correlation between concern over disunity and religious observance with secular and traditional respondents (53%) expressing higher concern than religious (40%) and haredi (27%) Israelis.

Respondents also resoundingly declared the most unifying factor in Israel is war or tragedy. An eighty percent majority agreed that negative new had a positive impact on unity. 

While only 13% of Israelis feel the country will have greater communal unity in the next five years, a total of 81% agreed with the statement: “I fully respect Jews from all aspects of society, even when I don’t agree with them.” 

An overwhelming 78% of respondents also noted their support of national educational efforts to introduce religious students and secular students to each other.

“This index is an important indicator that we have a great deal to accomplish in building a better society but that there is also considerable cause for optimism,” said Ilan Gael Dor, Executive Director of Gesher. 

“Most fundamentally, it reveals that there is a high level of misunderstanding of the other and if overcome then we can enhance unity within our society.”