A survey of Israeli citizens and their religious beliefs reveals that they are mostly of a religious orientation and seek to maintain a Jewish lifestyle.
Israel’s Channel 2 News and polling service Sample Project Panel, directed by Dr. Ariel Ayalon, has published a survey that may change everyone’s long-held assumptions about the divide between religious and secular in Israel. The survey questioned 500 Jewish Israeli respondents ages 18 to 64, and here is what they had to say regarding a variety of Jewish-related issues:
70.6 percent don’t eat pork.
66 percent believe in God. 20 percent believe in a higher power, but prefer not to call it God. Out of those who identified themselves as secular, only 27 percent said they don’t believe in God.
53.1 percent were married through the chief rabbinate.
51.4 percent of women, including secular women, maintain a modest appearance.
49.5 percent fast on Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest day.
45.2 percent perform Kiddush on Friday night.
43.2 percent light Shabbat candles.
37.7 percent don’t drive on Shabbat.
36.5 percent attend synagogue services on holidays.
29.6 percent keep kosher and maintain the dietary laws.
According to the survey, Israel is definitely becoming more religious.
Younger Israelis are more religious than their elders: 80 percent of respondents ages 18-24 believe in God, compared with 57.5 percent of ages 55-64. And 25.9 percent of young Israelis say they are religious, compared with 11.5 percent of the older generation.
In fact, only Israelis ages 35 and up are majority secular, whereas among ages 24-34 only 48.8 percent say they are secular, and among ages 18-24 only 37.6 percent are secular. Out of the younger age group, 50.6 percent observe Shabbat, compared with 16.1 percent of their elders. 47.1 percent of the younger group keep kosher, compared with 21.8 percent of the older group. 22.4 percent of the younger Israelis attend synagogue on Shabbat, compared with 14.9 percent of older Israelis.
In fact, the only area where older Israelis are more traditional than their children is modesty.
On intermarriage, 65 percent of all Israelis say they would not consider marrying a non-Jew. Among the secular, 42 percent would not intermarry.