A majority of Israel's
Jewish citizens view Yom Kippur
as a day of "atonement and forgiveness" and plan to fast during the holiday, according to a survey ordered by Ynet and the Gesher association dedicated to bridging the gap between diverse segments of the Israeli society.
Half of the respondents said they planned to visit a synagogue during the holiday and take part in at least one prayer.
The survey was conducted by the Panels research institute among 504 respondents – a representative sample of the adult Jewish population in Israel. The maximum sampling error was 4.4%.
Asked, "What does Yom Kippur mean to you?" 55% said it is "a day of atonement and forgiveness", 11% see it as "a good opportunity for body cleansing", 9% view it as "a forced day of rest", and 11% believe it is "an ideal day to ride a bicycle or watch movies".
The rest of the respondents (17%) refused to answer the question.
An analysis according to religious affiliation reveals that an absolute majority of ultra-Orthodox, religious and traditional Jews believe Yom Kippur is a time for atonement and forgiveness (100%, 99% and 85%, respectively). This was the common answer among seculars as well (33%).
So how many people are planning to fast on Yom Kippur? Fifty-eight percent of respondents declared that they would avoid eating and drinking throughout the holiday, compared to 37% who won't be fasting. The remaining percent don't know or have yet to decide.
An absolute majority of haredim, religious and traditional Jews will follow the Jewish tradition by fasting (100%, 99% and 87%, respectively), compared to most seculars (54%) who plan to continue eating.
Many who are not used to attend prayers on other days of the year flock to synagogues on Yom Kippur. Fifty percent of the survey's respondents said they would take part in all or most prayers, 14% will attend some of them and another 14% will only arrive for the closing prayer.
The remaining 50% plan to stay away from synagogues.
Haredi and religious Jews plan to attend all or most prayers (89% and 88%, respectively), traditional Jews will be there too but did not show a clear preference regarding the length of their stay (69%), and most seculars will stay away (69%).
According to Gesher Director Ilan Gal-Dor, "The group Gesher wants to focus on is people defined as seculars who fast on Yom Kippur but don't go to synagogue.
"The blessed trend which opens doors to the entire public for a joint gathering on Yom Kippur should be extended. This is a day for everyone, which connects all factions among the people of Israel."
The Panels research institute survey was conducted through the Panel4ALL Internet forum