2020 Annual Assessment

JPPI’s Pluralism Index survey was conducted under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, and immediately after Israelis had been subjected to their third round of tense and difficult elections in the space of a year. The survey reveals that these events have not, at least up to this point, significantly undermined the Israeli sense of cohesion. The “comfort index,” which looks at whether Israelis feel “comfortable being themselves in Israel,” there was virtually no change compared with last year. Similarly, most Israelis, both Jews and non-Jews, feel like “real Israelis,” at least to some degree.

Below are a few of the findings from this year, followed by a discussion of their significance:

  1. A dramatic increase, compared with last year, in the percentage of non-Jews who consider their primary identity to be “Israeli,” and a concurrent sharp decline in the percentage of those who define their identity as “Palestinian.”
  2. At the same time, only one out of five non-Jews believes that there was once a (Jewish) temple on the Temple Mount. A substantial majority of Muslims in Israel believe that there was no temple on the Temple Mount. Additionally, most non-Jews think that a large proportion of, or most, Israeli Jews are “extremist.”
  3. The Chief Rabbinate’s negative image in the eyes of Israeli Jews. Only 14 precent of Israeli Jews feel that the Chief Rabbinate is a vital, well-functioning institution. However, only one in five Israeli Jews supports dissolving the Chief Rabbinate.
  4. Other findings attest to the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) sector’s negative image regarding its contribution to the state. Most secular Israelis feel that Israeli society treats the Haredim too well.
  5. Nearly half of Israeli Jews think that the Law of Return should remain in its current form. Most of the others feel that sections of the Law should be modified to stiffen eligibility criteria. Very few (6%) think the Law should be repealed.
  6. A substantial majority of Israeli Jews support the operation of public transportation on Shabbat. Car ownership (or non-ownership) has no real impact on opinions regarding this issue.
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