By Judith Sudilovsky
Some 80 percent of Jewish Israelis are dissatisfied with how the government handles issues of religion and state, according to a recent survey released by the Smith Research Institute for Hiddush-Freedom of Religion in Israel, Inc.
In addition, the survey revealed that, although the data was collected in the midst of a tense social-economic protest which has focused primarily on the cost of housing and living, 64 percent of the respondents viewed tension between secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews as the most or second most acute domestic conflict in Israel. Thirty percent said it is tension between rich and poor.
The Israel Religion and State Index is an annual study whose research is based on a sample of 800 people representing the adult Jewish population of Israel. The survey was conducted between 16-22 August 2011.
According to a 4 October news release, the study reaffirmed support for freedom of choice in marriage by the majority of Israelis, with 62 percent of the Jewish population — and 91 percent of the secular Jewish population — supporting recognition of all forms of marriage ceremonies including those from the conservative and reform streams of Judaism as well as secular marriage. Some 61 percent of the Jewish public supports equal recognition of conversions to Judaism by all streams of Judaism.
This is in “stark contrast” to the current situation in Israel where only Orthodox marriages and conversions can be legally performed for Jews, Hiddush noted.
“Whoever is deemed ineligible for marriage by the Orthodox rabbinate [including all non-Orthodox converts to Judaism and hundreds of thousands of immigrants from the former Soviet Union] or wishes to marry differently must do so outside the country’s borders,” they noted.
In addition, according to the news release, a majority of respondents also support recognition of same sex marriages.