A study conducted by the Israeli Democracy Institute concluded that 50 percent of the Israeli public would be willing to relinquish any shopping during Shabbat – if during that same time the State operated public transportation as usual and allowed leisure activities. The study polled 502 adult Israeli Jews.
According to the poll, 72 percent of secular citizens would be willing to consider such a compromise compared to 68 percent of religious citizens and 43 percent of strictly Orthodox citizens.
However only 38 percent of the public truly believes such a compromise would lessen tensions between Israel's religious and secular communities.
According to the poll less than a third (27 percent) of the Jewish population in Israel keeps Shabbat.
Twenty percent say they adhere to some Shabbat traditions and 53 percent say they do not keep Shabbat at all.
Some two-thirds of Israel's Jewish population go on trips, purchase goods or participate in leisure activities during Shabbat, even though the majority of businesses are closed.
The study splits those who shop on Shabbat into two groups – the first includes those who choose Shabbat because of necessity since that is their only free day (a third of these are people who define themselves as religious). The second group is composed of those who say they are not willing to give up their right to shop on Shabbat, even if they could choose another day of the week.
However if Sunday were also made a national rest day, 37 percent of the public would refrain from shopping on Shabbat. 40 percent said they would continue to do so, even if they had Sunday off.
Extending the weekend to include Sunday as a day off but with free trade would therefore significantly decrease the number of Israelis shopping on Shabbat, but would likely do nothing to change the shopping habits of most secular Israeli Jews.