Secular Jews in Israel Dissatisfied with State’s Religious Policy

A recent survey has found that 95% of secular Jewish respondents in Israel are dissatisfied with the extreme-right government’s handling of religious issues, with large majorities favoring civil marriage or civil unions and official recognition of non-Orthodox conversions. That’s one of the findings of an annual survey of Israeli religious identification and attitudes toward religious policy released Friday, September 11, by Hiddush, a six year old organization which promotes religious freedom in Israel.


Covering a broad spectrum of questions on religious policy and identification, the Hiddush survey reported large majorities of Jews in Israel supporting change to the government’s religious policy, just as it has every year since the poll began in 2009. 64% of Jewish Israelis support recognizing Conservative and Reform conversions — not just Orthodox, as is currently the case. Nearly three-quarters of Israelis want public transportation on Shabbat. 64% of Jewish Israelis want Israel to recognize civil marriage or civil unions, even though 63% said they would still choose an Orthodox ceremony for themselves — including three-quarters of Conservative Jews.

The survey also found a rise in support for same-sex marriage — with 64% in support, compared to 56% last year. But a substantial portion of Israel’s governing coalition opposes same-sex marriage, making its passage unlikely.