Majority of Israelis support non-Orthodox marriages, survey finds


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Some 62 percent of Jewish Israelis believe that civil and non-Orthodox marriages should be recognized in their country, according to a new survey.

The Israel Religion and State Index 2011 conducted for the Hiddush-Freedom of Religion in Israel organization, also found that 61 percent of the Jewish public supports equal recognition of conversions of all streams of Judaism.

The survey, conducted for Hiddish by the Smith Research Institute, interviewed 800 Jewish Israeli adults and has a margin of error of 3.4 percent. It was unveiled last week.

Some 38 percent of respondents objected to recognizing civil and non-Orthodox marriages. Meanwhile, 52 percent of respondents supported same-sex marriages, with 48 percent objecting. 

According to the survey, 56 percent of Jewish Israelis believe there should be separation of state and religion, with 35 percent supporting it "very much" and 21 percent supporting it "pretty much."

Asked, "Do you agree or disagree that the State of Israel should conduct freedom of religion and conscience — in other words, giving secular and religious Jews the option to act in accordance with their world-view?" — some 83 percent either "very much agree" or "somewhat agree."

The survey also found that 39 percent of respondents believe that the state should only recognize Orthodox conversions.

Respondents rated tensions in Israel’s Jewish society, with haredi Orthodox-secular tension ranking first with 37 percent, followed by tension between the political right and left at 33 percent.

“The public has expressed its total lack of confidence in the government’s surrender to the ultra-Orthodox parties," said Hiddush President Rabbi Uri Regev. "Most Israelis want to see the realization of full freedom of religion and conscience. This is true for every aspect of the religion/state arena.”

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