Survey: Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Prefer a Jewish State to a Democratic One

The ultra-Orthodox may be happy to live in a Jewish state, but they are less happy living in a democratic one, Israel Democracy Institute’s Democracy Index finds.

When asked whether there is a good balance between the Jewish and democratic components, 72 percent of the Haredim said the democratic component was too strong, 15 percent said the balance was right, while 5 percent said the Jewish component was too strong.

Among religious Jews, 50 percent said the democratic component was too strong, as did 32 percent of religious traditional respondents, 20 percent of non-religious traditional respondents, and only 9 percent of secular respondents. The trend goes back the other way: 66 percent of secular Jews believe the Jewish component is too strong, compared to 26 percent among the non-religious traditional, 22 percent among the religious traditional, and 9 percent of Haredi respondents.

“Haredim have it good in Israel in its present situation” says Dr Gilad Malach from the Israel Democracy Institute. “They are the group with the highest rate of satisfaction with the state of the country and with their status in it.” Malach says that Haredi society does identify some threats to their current status. One is the conflict between Haredim and secular Jews, which is perceived by the former as particularly severe, as shown by the data. “Their anger is directed mainly at the media, the Supreme Court and the police, all of which are highly mistrusted,” says Malach.

An overwhelming majority of ultra-Orthodox respondents, 70 percent, think the police are exercising excessive policing against their communities, compared to 67 percent among religious Jews, 44 percent of the religious traditional religious, 31 percent of the non-religious traditional and only 20 percent of secular Jews.

For Malach, “the conclusion is clear: the Haredi population identifies very much with a Jewish Israel, but much less so with its democratic character.”
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