Hanukkah remains one of the most celebrated holidays in Israel, but for what reasons?
According to a joint poll conducted by Ynet and the Gesher Institute, 83% of the Jewish public in Israel will gather daily around variously styled menorahs and light the holiday candles accompanied by traditional prayers while 15% said they would make an effort to do so at least once over the course of the holiday. Only 2% said they would not celebrate Hanukkah at all.
A breakdown of the figures reveals that 68% of respondents who identified as secular planned to light the candles daily compared with 91% of religious respondents.
As for what the holiday symbolizes – 40% of the public said Hanukkah is celebrated to commemorate the Jewish victory over the Greeks, 35% said the holiday was about family, 11% identified the holiday's unique culinary dishes as its most important attribute and 7% said Hanukkah revolved around the numerous commercial performance extravaganzas put on for vacationing children during the holiday.
When asked which of the following most symbolized modern Hellenization for them, 23% of respondents said spending an excessive amount of hours staring at the computer screen and surfing the internet, 18% said television and specifically talk-shows and another 18% said Americanization was the new Hellinism.
10% said the justice and democracy systems were symbols of Hellinism, 9% said consumerism and 8% said society's obsession with body image.
The study polled 503 respondents, who constitute a representative sample of Hebrew-speaking Jewish Israelis.