Almost half of the Jewish-Israeli public does not mark Valentine's Day, or Tu B'Av, a joint Ynet-Yesodot survey shows.
The survey, which was conducted by the Panels Institute, polled 504 respondents representative of the adult Jewish population in Israel, and indicates that 47% of Israeli Jews don't mark February 14 or Tu B'Av. Some 22% celebrate Tu B'Av alone; 18% mark both dates; and 13% mark Valentine's Day only.
Analysis according to religious affiliation suggests that traditionalists celebrate the holiday of love more than any other group (67%). Among the religious public, 60% celebrate the holidays – but most observe Tu B'Av only. Some 52% of seculars and 60% of the ultra-Orthodox do not mark either date.
Asked whether Judaism is egalitarian in its attitude towards men and women, 47% answered it was not; 29% replied there was a moderate level of equality; and 24% said Judaism was egalitarian.
Analysis shows that the haredim (79%) and the religious public (58%) believe there is equality while the seculars replied there was none (58%). A gender analysis revealed that 29% of men believe that Judaism is egalitarian as opposed to only 19% of women.
How does Judaism measure in comparison with other faiths? 42% said it was very egalitarian; 31% stated it was the same as other religions; and 27% said men were favored more in Judaism than in other religions. Haredim (87%), the religious (77%) and traditionalists (52%) believe that Judaism is more egalitarian than other faiths while most seculars either believe it is as egalitarian or less than other faiths.
'Clear desire for equality'
Yesodot director Shoshi Becker said in response: The Christian lovers' holiday did not catch on in the Israeli Jewish society but the desire for equality between men and women is clear.
"Even if many found Judaism to be more egalitarian than other faiths one still discerns an aspiration to fix the current state. We see that unlike haredim and the religious, who believe Judaism is egalitarian towards women, the traditionalists and seculars think it is not.
"Love and mutual respect depend upon each other and are basic tenets of Judaism, and that is why we included the equality issue in the survey, which affects harmony in the family. Nevertheless, love between partners in Judaism is perceived as a basis for the creation of a family. "
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