TEL AVIV (JTA) – Three-fifths of Israeli religious Zionists prioritize safeguarding Israel’s Jewish majority over keeping control of the West Bank.
According to a survey of religious Zionists conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute think tank, 62 per cent believe maintaining Israel’s Jewish majority is 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 per cent of respondents support 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 per cent of respondents favour Israel allowing some form of civil marriage, either for all Israelis or for those unable to marry in an Orthodox Jewish wedding. Currently, Israel only allows Jews to marry in an Orthodox ceremony. Forty-five per cent also would welcome same-sex couples into an Orthodox congregation.
But respondents also supported 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. And a majority of respondents believe the political decisions of religious Knesset members should be subject to rabbinic authority.
The poll found that 22 per cent 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 per cent.