Census Workers Hit the Streets Amid Boycott from Some Sectors

Israel’s fifth national census got underway this week as Central Bureau of Statistics workers began distributing questionnaires to some 1.5 million households and thousands of institutions throughout the country.

The fervently Orthodox community was expected to participate in the census, at least in Jerusalem, following a rabbinic ruling that filling out the forms does not violate halachic prohibitions.

Elsewhere, however, some rabbis called on their followers not to participate.

At the same time, the Yesha Council of Jewish Settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza also called on residents of the territories to boycott the census, as a means of protest against the current government.

A spokesman for the Yesha Council rejected the idea that refusing to take part was essentially cutting the Jewish population in the territories off from the rest of Israel.

“The Interior Ministry already has a pretty good sense of the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria,” Yesha Council spokesman Yehiel Leiter told Israel Radio. “They don’t need to know how many microwave ovens we own.”

The 7,000 census takes are to hand out short demographic forms with five questions to about 80 percent of the population, with the remainder asked to complete more extensive forms.

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