A large majority of Israeli public, and particularly non-religious Israelis, believe that the religious and ultra-Orthodox parties create an antagonism towards the Jewish religion, a new survey revealed Sunday.
The survey was conducted for Ynet and the Gesher Institute by the Panels Institute, and included 500 respondents that are a representative sample of the adult Jewish population in the country. The margin of error is 4.5%.
In the first part of the poll, participants were presented with two statements regarding the religious parties, and were asked to say with which of the two they identified more. Fifty-eight of them agreed with the statement that the parties created a sense of antagonism among the public regarding religion, while 42% agreed that "religious parties are needed to preserve the State's Jewish character."
United Torah Judaism MKs. Create alienation (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
A break-up of the poll according to religious orientation pointed to a staggering gap between the secular approach and that of the observant, religious and haredi public. While 77% of seculars stated that religious parties alienate the public, 62% of observant Jews, 89% of religious Jews and 93% of haredim claimed otherwise.
'Parties must address needs of general public'
Respondents were also asked which Knesset members were most active in their efforts to preserve Israel's Jewish character. Forty-seven percent said that MKs from religious and haredi parties were making the greatest efforts in this regard; 20% chose the members of the secular parties; and 33% claimed that "nobody addresses this issue."
"On the one hand, the religious and haredi parties are perceived as safeguarding the country's Jewish character, and on the other hand they are seen as prompting hatred towards religion," said Gesher Institute Director Shoshi Becker.
"It's evident that secular Israelis would prefer seeing the religious MKs as part of the general, rather than sectoral parties."
Becker added that religious and haredi parties would do best to put the needs of the entire public on top of their agenda, so as not to distance themselves, and Judaism, from the general public.