61% of Israeli Jews to Fast on Yom Kippur


daveningYom Kippur fast remains popular among Israel’s citizens. A survey conducted by Ynet and the Yesodot association reveals that this year as well, the majority of the public plans to fast, pray and seek forgiveness. Religious and secular citizens are at odds over one issue only: Whether riding a bicycle is a desecration of the holy day or one of its symbols.

The Ynet-Yesodot survey was conducted by the Panels research institute among 300 respondents – a representative national sample of the adult Jewish population in Israel. The maximal sampling error was ±5.7%.

Asked whether they plan to fast on Yom Kippur, 61% of Israelis said yes and 28% said no. Six percent said they would fast only part of the day and 5% had yet to decide.

According to a religious segmentation, 100% of haredim, 100% of religious and 85% of traditional Jews will abstain from eating and drinking for an entire day. Among seculars, about half of respondents will fast (most of them all day) and half won’t fast at all.

Among those who fast, 82% will do it for religious and traditional reasons and the rest for other reasons, including respect for their parents, as a sport and to clean their bodies. In all four sectors mentioned, most of those who fast do it to observe the mitzvah.

The second question posed was: “Do you plan on going to shul on Yom Kippur?” Fifty-one percent of the respondents answer that they would take part in the tefillos (21% in all of them, 14% in some, and 16% only in Kol Nidrei and Ne’ilah), while 49% said they will not attend Yom Kippur services at all.
The vast majority of charedi and national religious respondents will go to all of the tefillos. Most of the secular public will not go to synagogue, while traditionalists will participate in some of them.

According to the third part of the poll, 77% of the public plans on asking forgiveness from God or other people, versus 23% who will not reconcile with anyone because they do not believe there is any need. In all of the religious affiliations, a majority of the respondents said they plan on asking forgiveness.

With the option of choosing more than one answer, here is what respondents said they will ask forgiveness for. Insulting a friend of family member – 47%; lack of tolerance – 34%; not keeping the mitzvos – 33%; not properly taking care of the body – 18%; not spending enough time with children – 11%; treatment of weaker parts of the society – 9%; not doing enough for the nation and the country – 8%; lack of dependability – 6%.

In conclusion, the respondents were asked to express their opinion about the tradition of riding bicycles in the streets on Yom Kippur. Some 35% responded that it is a violation of the sanctity of the day just as driving a car is, while 29% responded positively that it is one of the symbols of the day. Seventeen percent did not respond.

The secular public said that it is one of the symbols of the day.

Yesodot Educational Director Shoshi Becker addressed the findings, saying that “Yom Kippur is a day that connects the people to the Jewish tradition in the strongest manner, when the State’s Jewish and public character reaches a sort of climax.

“On the other hand, the survey points to the great diversity among people in regards to their private actions and intentions on this day.

“We are at the start of a new year and an opportunity to recognize our threats and become better people. All Jews share the recognition of an opportunity and the atmosphere allowing it in the society.

“We see here a ‘warm recommendation to leaders, educators, parents and any person to develop tools and skills for tolerance and mutual respect among the people of Israel and society as a whole.”