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Most Israelis reportedly support Shabbat transportation and Haredi military draft

An ultra-orthodox Jew walks outside the army recruitment office in Jerusalem, July 2, 2023. (Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Approximately 70% of Israelis support Shabbat transportation and almost 80% support the military draft for Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jewish population, according to the latest annual Hiddush Religion & State Index. 

The latest report from Hiddush, an organization dedicated to religious freedom and equality in Israeli society, comes amid growing tensions between secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews concerning the role of religion in public spaces and the issue of expanding the military defense burden to the Haredi religious minority.

Rabbi Uri Regev, the Hiddush CEO, assessed that the latest results indicate growing tensions between different sectors of Jews in Israeli society.

“These statistics are indicative of a pivotal moment or Israeli society. The widening chasm between religious communities, along with declining trust in central institutions, is a red flag for all invested in Israel’s unity and future,” Regev warned.

While military service is formally mandatory for all Israeli Jews, ages 18 and up, the overwhelming majority of ultra-Orthodox Jews are currently exempt from service due to studies at yeshivas, traditional Jewish religious schools.

In late August, thousands of women’s rights activists demonstrated against sexism in public spaces in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv.

The latest report also showed some 69% of Israelis are in favor of completely ending funding for yeshiva schools despite the current government’s pledge to increase funding for religious schools. In addition, a whopping 77% of poll respondents oppose preferential treatment of students attending ultra-Orthodox schools, compared to other schools.

The Hiddush report indicated that Israeli society is gradually changing its attitude toward marriage.

While most Israeli Jews are not religious, the Jewish state currently only offers Orthodox marriages. A small majority – 53% of the respondents - are reportedly still in favor of Orthodox marriages.

However, some 24% of the secular respondents support “Utah marriages” via Zoom, while almost one-third (30%) responded in favor of cohabitation for unmarried couples.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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