Poll: 21% of Israeli Jews ‘More Religious’


israelisSome 72% of Israeli Jews over the age of 20 reported visiting a shul in 2009, while 21% said that they are now more religious than before, according to a survey conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Meanwhile, 14% of poll respondents said they are now less religious than they were before.

The survey was conducted in January-December 2009 and sampled 7,500 people over the age of 20 representing some 4.7 million Israelis. According to the responses, Israeli Jews above the age of 20 comprise 8% charedim, 12% religious, 13% traditional-religious, 25% traditionalists who are not so religious and 42% seculars.

Some 5.4% of the respondents – roughly 200,000 – defined themselves as “newly religious.”

About 49% of the newly religious said their motive for turning religious was acquiring new knowledge, some 25% did so under the influence of their families, spouses or environment and 17% turned religious following a personal crisis.

When asked to what extent they observed the Jewish tradition, 25% of poll respondents said they did to a very high degree; 38% said to a great degree; 31% answered to small degree and 6% said they did not observe tradition at all. Among the secular population 86% said they observed tradition to some degree and 14% said “not at all.”

The data show that Pesach, Chanukah and Yom Kippur were the Yomim Tovim that most traditionalists and seculars observe. Some 52% of them light Shabbos candles but only 11% refrain from driving on Shabbos.

It was also revealed that while 48% make a point of eating kosher l’Pesach food during the chag, only 33% eat kosher during the rest of the year.

The poll also revealed that 72% of all respondents said they visited a shul in 2009: 76% of men and 68% of women. Some 24% of seculars visited a shul on Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur.