Survey: U.S. Jews want more religious pluralism in Israel


(JTA) — U.S. Jews want Israel to remain a Jewish and democratic state, but also accommodate non-Orthodox Judaism, according to a survey.

The conclusions from a survey conducted by the Jewish Agency’s Jewish People Policy Institute were released Thursday. In reaching the conclusions, the institute held discussions and seminars with Jewish groups across the United States, and sent out questionnaires and analyzed external research.

The survey also found that U.S. Jews disagree with Israel’s handling of religion and state matters, including recognizing only Orthodox marriage and granting authority to the largely haredi Orthodox Chief Rabbinate. U.S. Jews also said Israel should ensure that all its citizens have equal rights while still maintaining its Jewish character.

In terms of Israel’s relationship with its neighbors, the survey found that U.S. Jews recognize that Israel exists in a hostile region but believe that regional security threats should not justify its disregarding human rights or democratic values. They also said Israel should strive to end its control of the Palestinians.

The survey’s results are “positive and optimistic, contrary to dismal reports we hear about the distancing of Diaspora Jews from Israel,” said Shmuel Rosner, an Israeli journalist who co-headed the project. “The report also indicates that there is a strong need throughout the Jewish world for a deep connection with Israel.”

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