Article Library / 2016

2016 Annual Assessment

The Pew study only employs one single category – “Hilonim,” so it is difficult to know whether the they constitute an undifferentiated category or whether there are differences between Hilonim who observe more or fewer religious practices. The Jewish People Policy Institute Israeli Pluralism Survey, though, created two categories in regard to Hilonim: “Absolute Hilonim” who constitute 30.4 percent of the sample, and “Somewhat Traditional Hilonim” who constitute 20.8 percent. The two groups together make up 51 percent of the sample, which is close to the size of the Hiloni group the Pew Study found (49 percent). It stands to reason that many or most of the Hilonim who observe religious practices such as lighting Shabbat Candles or keeping Kosher in the Pew study would belong to the Somewhat Traditional Hilonim group in the JPPI survey. The JPPI survey also contained a significant number of attitude questions; it turns out that the Somewhat Traditional Hilonim were a bit more conservative-traditional in their answers than the Absolute Hilonim. At the same time, in a manner that is congruent with the Pew study, in the JPPI, Survey the Somewhat Traditional Hilonim are also differentiated from the Masoratim group. The former being more liberal-secular than the latter. Thus, the three groups form something of a continuum moving from right to left – Masoratim are the most conservative-traditional, then comes the Somewhat Traditional Hilonim, and finally the most secular-liberal are the Absolute Hilonim. The groups also differ in their demographic characteristics. Forty-five percent of the Masoratim are from the Middle East and North Africa (Mizrachim), double their size in the sample as a whole. At the same time, immigrants from the FSU make up 21.7 percent of the Absolute Hilonim. This percentage is 75 percent larger than their size in the sample as a whole.

The attitudes of the three groups in relation to nine attitude questions are presented in the following pie charts.

Civil marriage should be allowed in Israel

These pie charts show that the Somewhat Traditional Hilonim hold positions that are between those of the Masoratim and the Absolute Hilonim. Yet they also show that the Somewhat Traditional Hilonim basically hold policy positions that are similar to those of the Absolute Hilonim, albeit with somewhat less conviction or greater ambivalence. Thus, in regard to civil marriage, over three quarters of the Absolute Hilonim fully agree that civil marriage should be possible in Israel. Together with those that somewhat agree that civil marriage should be introduced, those that support civil marriage constitute almost seven eighths of the Absolute Hilonim group. A similar number of support for civil marriage is reached for Somewhat Traditional Hilonim if you add together those who “fully agree” that civil marriage should be introduced with those who “somewhat agree.” In that case, a bit over three quarters support civil marriage. In contrast, among Masoratim, even if you add “fully agree” and “somewhat agree,” less than three quarters support civil marriage, and less than half fully agree that it should be instituted.

The situation is similar in regard to the question whether one would want non-Jewish children to attend his or her children’s school. Among Absolute Hilonim, almost half fully agreed and almost three quarters either fully or somewhat agreed. Among Somewhat Traditional Hilonim, less than half fully agreed but about five in eight fully or somewhat agreed, again a percentage that is close to that of the Absolute Hilonim, but with less conviction. Among Masoratim, less than a quarter fully agreed, and less than half fully or somewhat agreed.