From the outside looking in, Israel is surely a Jewish state; however, for the many layers of Jewish Israelis living within, the identity remains unclear. An Independence Day survey by the Jewish People Policy Institute, or JPPI, surveyed 806 Jewish-Israelis, from secular to ultra-religious, and the wide array of differing opinions is clear.
While 98% of Jewish Israelis believe the country should be Jewish, 53% of secular Israelis believe there is too much emphasis on national Jewish identity, in contrast to the 90% of religious and ultra-Orthodox people who believe that Israel is not Jewish enough. The major disagreement was spotlighted when it came to the country’s judicial system, and which law to prioritize, Jewish Law or democratic law.
Over half (51%) of the ultra-Orthodox believe that the Jewish state should observe religious commandments, and 78% of mostly non-Orthodox citizens, said no. This speaks to the common divide between the two sides of the Jewish spectrum, one side valuing the Jewish commandments as law, and the other, able to prioritize the importance of a more democratic approach. This seems to speak to the ongoing battles which take place, such as if there should be public transportation on the Sabbath, and marriage and divorce rights through the Jewish courts.
President of JPPI Yedidia Stern spoke to the data and the “complex picture of Israeli unity within the various sectors as well as among them.”