Photo Credit: Usaid via Flickr
The heart of the controversy

A survey conducted a few months ago on behalf of the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs and cited for the first time on Friday by Makor Rishon shows that while Israeli public opinion is generally positive regarding world Jewry, the majority of Israeli Jews do not believe their government should give special consideration to their brothers and sisters abroad on issues such as mixed-sex prayer at the Kotel and religious conversions.

According to the survey, ordered by Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) and conducted by Kelim Shluvim among 1,000 Israeli Jews, 55% believe there should be little or no attention paid to the views of world Jewry on issues of religion and the state, while 44% believe those views should be paid significant attention.

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The survey revealed a strong correlation between the religious standards of respondents and their view on how vital the views of foreign Jews are. 66% of the National-Religious and 65% of Haredim think world Jews’ views need not be taken into consideration. Only 54% of non-religious Israeli Jews felt those views did not matter.

But lest one conclude from these responses that Israeli no longer care about Jewish brothers in faraway lands, a survey that was published by the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs in October 2016 showed 79% of the 1,000 participants agree that the State of Israel has some responsibility for the safety of world Jews who suffer from anti-Semitic attacks; only 21% do not see the State of Israel as responsible for the security of Jews around the world. 50% of all respondents view Israel as responsible for Jewish survival in the Diaspora, and not only in Israel, and only 20% believe it is not responsible for the Jewish existence abroad. 92% of the participants in the October survey say they feel personally concerned when they hear of an anti-Semitic attack against a Jew abroad.

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