The survey, directed by New Wave Research among 500 respondents who constitute a representative sample of the adult Jewish population in Israel, revealed that 42% of the country's Jewish public believe that rabbis worsen the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, compared to 14% who think they moderate it and 29% who say rabbis have no influence.
The poll also showed that the more religious the public, the more positive its stand towards rabbis as moderators: Thirty-five percent of the ultra-Orthodox public see the rabbis as reconcilers, compared to only 6.7% of seculars.
On the other hand, 63% of seculars see rabbis as an element worsening the conflict, compared to 5% of haredim.
A similar picture was found in a discussion of religion's role in Jewish-Arab relations within Israel. Forty-five percent of the Jewish public in Israel think religion pushes Jews and Arabs apart, 6% think it bridges between the groups and 38% believe it has no influence whatsoever.
Seculars' negative stance
"The conference's goal is to hold a public discourse on religion's place in the Jewish-Palestinian conflict, and the fabric of relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel," explained Prof. Itzchak Weismann, head of the Jewish-Arab Center and a lecturer at the Department of Middle Eastern History.
"The survey reveals that the secular public in Israel has very negative stances in regards to religion's role in Jewish-Arab relations in Israel.
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