Article Library / Israeli Judaism

Approaching the Elections: the political parties that celebrate the secular New Year (and those who do not)

Upwards of 50% of Israeli Jews that identify as right wing voters do not drive on Shabbat (54%). More than 50% of Israeli Jews that identity as left wing voters shop on Shabbat (55%). Two thirds of those who identify as “center-right” voters do a Kiddush on Friday night. About a half of those who identify as “center-left” voters – a little less than a third – also do a Kiddush on Friday night.

The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) is releasing this data as part of its #IsraeliJudaism research project, based on an extensive survey of Israeli Jews. A new book based on the research: #IsraeliJudaism, a Portrait of a Cultural Revolution, was published a few weeks ago by Dvir Publishing.

The way the Israeli society divides into political camps has a direct correlation to their level of Jewish observance. Among those who identify as “completely secular,” a bit more than a quarter of Jewish Israelis (28%), most people vote for center (30%) and center-left (24%) political parties. The next group in the scale of Jewish observance are the “secular who are a bit traditional,” and its voters choose center wing parties (30%), and even more so, right wing parties (center-right parties 26% and right wing parties 25%). The small left wing (5%) is composed almost solely of completely secular voters. The right wing sector, which is the largest sector in Israel (33%) is dominant with all non-secular voters. 42% of those who identify as “traditional” are right wing voters, as are 58% of religious and 50% of Haredi voters.

JPPI`s extensive survey clearly shows that most of Jewish Israeli voters tend to choose center and right wing parties. Center-left and left wing voters constitute only 16% of the Jewish Israeli population.

In the following weeks leading up to the April elections, we will post data that shows the correlation between political identity and party identification to Jewish observance levels. The following chart shows which voters attend New Year`s parties and which voters choose not to attend. As shown in last week`s data, attendance of New Year`s parties also has a strong correlation to age – young people tend to attend much more than adults. About one in five (20%) of Israeli Jews celebrate on December 31st but of those without children, especially young people, the percentage rises to 34%, about a third of all Israeli Jews.

The following chart shows the correlation between New Year`s party attendance and political party affiliation (the data comes from the 2015 elections). The party with the highest percentage of former USSR voters is also the one whose nearly half its supporters attended a New Year`s party. Among members of the Ashkenazi Haredi party, almost no one attends a New Year’s party.

JPPI’s Israeli-Judaism project is headed by Senior Fellow Shmuel Rosner, and Professor Camil Fuchs (Tel Aviv University), who oversees the surveys and statistical analysis. JPPI Fellow Noah Slepkov assisted in data analysis, drawn from a survey conducted of 3000 Israeli Jews in two rounds, one of 2000 Israeli Jews and another of an additional 1000 respondents, a representative sample of the Jewish public in Israel. The statistical margin of error for the sample of 3000 survey respondents is 1.8%. the #IsraeliJudaism book as published in a cooperation between Dvir Publishing and the JPPI.

The Jewish People Policy Institute (established by the Jewish Agency for Israel) is a think tank located in Jerusalem. Through strategic thinking and long-term action-oriented policy planning, JPPI focuses its efforts on ensuring the thriving of the Jewish people and the Jewish civilization. Avinoam Bar Yosef is President of JPPI, and Ambassadors Stuart Eizenstat and Dennis Ross are the Institute’s Co-Chairs.

For additional information contact Adar Schieber at JPPI: 02-563-3356,;