TEL AVIV (JTA) — Three-fifths of religious Zionist Israelis prioritize safeguarding Israel’s Jewish majority over keeping control of the West Bank.
According to a survey of religious Zionist Israelis conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute think tank and released this week, 62 percent believed that maintaining Israel’s Jewish majority was more important than controlling the “entire Land of Israel from the Jordan to the Mediterranean.”
The Jewish Home party, the flagship political party of religious Zionists, opposes any withdrawal from the West Bank.
But 40 percent of respondents supported Israeli soldiers refusing to carry out orders to evacuate West Bank settlements. One quarter of respondents said Israel’s laws may be disobeyed because of Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
In addition, 45 percent of respondents favored Israel allowing some form of civil marriage, either for all Israelis or those unable to marry in an Orthodox Jewish wedding. Israel only allows Jews to marry in an Orthodox ceremony. Forty-five percent also would welcome same-sex couples into an Orthodox congregation.
But respondents also backed greater religious influence over Israeli law. Four-fifths of respondents said Israel should grant automatic citizenship only to those Jewish according to Orthodox Jewish law. Currently, anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent can gain automatic citizenship. Also, a majority of respondents believed that the political decisions of religious Knesset members should be subject to rabbinic authority.
The poll found that 22 percent of Israelis define themselves as religious Zionists, though one-third do not self-define as Orthodox. The poll’s margin of error was 3.2 percent.