A new survey conducted by Panels Politics for the Institute for Research on Judaism and Zionism has revealed that a substantial proportion of the mainstream Religious-Zionist community has an open attitude toward accepting people who identify as LGBT in their schools and synagogues.
44 percent of those polled from the mainstream Religious-Zionist community said that a state-religious school should accept children who identify as LGBT, as opposed to 34 percent who said that such children belong only in secular schools.
Among the haredi-Zionist community, just 23 percent of respondents said that such a child could learn in a state-religious school, as opposed to 51 percent who said such children should only learn in secular institutions.
When asked if they would accept someone identifying as LGBT in their synagogue or religious community, 62 percent of respondents from mainstream Religious-Zionism answered in the affirmative. When they were asked a similar question with regard to a single-sex parental unit identifying as a family, 53 percent of respondents professed a willingness to welcome them.
With regard to Reform "conversion," surprising numbers said they would accept those who had gone through such a process into their communities. 72 percent of traditionally-minded Jews and 35 percent of mainstream Religious-Zionists said they would accept such a person into their community or synagogue. 28 percent of mainstream Religious-Zionists answered in the negative.
Asked what their response would be to a convicted sex offender who had served out his sentence, the response was almost universally rejecting. Just 13 percent of mainstream Religious-Zionists said they would accept such a person into their community.
When haredi-Zionists were asked their response to having a single-sex unit join their synagogue, 40 percent responded that if such an event came to pass, they would leave the synagogue. Just 6 percent of this population said that they would accept someone who had gone through a Reform "conversion" process into their community or synagogue, less than the number who would accept a convicted sex offender (11 percent).
The survey also examined the type of education and level of sheltering Religious-Zionist parents wish for their children. 60 percent of mainstream Religious-Zionists said that they would like their children to be exposed to a variety of views as opposed to 33 percent who thought that each individual institution should follow its own course. Among the haredi-Zionist community, just 29 percent of respondents wanted their children exposed to a variety of views as opposed to 63 percent who said that schools should adhere to their educational principles.
Another question posed was: "Can there be such a thing as a religious LGBT community?" 43 percent of mainstream Religious-Zionists said there could, while 37 percent disagreed. Among the haredi-Zionist community, 73 percent opposed the notion while 14 percent conceded it.
Daniel Goldman, founder of the Institute which commissioned the study, concluded that, "The broader Religious-Zionist community is inclusive and accepting of the LGBT community in terms of welcoming them into schools and synagogues. This conflicts with the conduct of the state-religious education system and of certain political elements as we see in the case of the boy [sic.] in Givat Shmuel."
Goldman added that, "The survey shows that the Religious-Zionist community would like to see a liberal, pluralistic community based on Jewish values of good manners [derech eretz] and accepting people, while politicians and others attempt to twist this sector in more conservative, closed-minded, and even extremist directions. We call on the heads of the state-religious education system to formulate its policies with this in mind, and it would also be pertinent to note that anyone who wishes to observe a religious lifestyle should be embraced both in synagogues and in schools."