Poll: Most Israeli Jews keep kosher, practice some Sabbath rituals


More than four of every five Israeli Jews believe in God and three-quarters of Israeli Jews keep kosher, according to a survey.

The study, conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute’s Guttman Center and paid for by the Avi Chai Foundation, also found that 51 percent of Israeli Jews favor instituting civil marriage; in Israel, marriage is controlled by the religious authorities.

The poll found that 70 percent of Israeli Jews believe the Jews are the chosen people; 61 percent think Israel should ensure that public life is conducted according to Jewish religious tradition; and more than 60 percent support holding sporting and cultural events on Shabbat.

The survey of 2,803 Israeli Jewish respondents was conducted in 2009 but the results were only released publicly on Sunday. It followed up on surveys conducted in 1991 and 1999. While the 1999 study showed a drop in Jewish attachments from the previous survey, the 2009 study shows a rise.

The 2009 study also showed that 82 percent of Israeli Jews light Chanukah candles, 67 percent refrain from eating leaven on Passover, 68 percent fast on Yom Kippur, 66 percent light Sabbath candles and 60 percent have Kiddush on Friday night.

The study showed some differences by ethnic origin, with Jews from Middle Eastern background more likely to define themselves as traditional than Ashkenazim.