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November 21, 2014 / 28 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘survey’

Report: 65% of Jewish Israelis Say Strike on Iran’s Nuke Program Less Dangerous than Nuclear Iran

Monday, March 26th, 2012

A new survey shows that 65% of Jewish Israelis believe that an attack on Iran to thwart its nuclear ambitions would be less dangerous than living under the specter of a nuclear Iran, Haaretz reported Wednesday.

The question asked whether the respondent agreed with the assertion that the price Israel would have to pay for living with the threat of an Iranian bomb would be greater than the price it would pay for attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities. 26% percent disagreed with the statement, while 9% expressed ambivalence.

The poll was conducted by Professor Camil Fuchs for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Fuchs also supervised the March 4-5 Haaretz Dialog poll which showed that 58% of Israelis polled opposed an Israeli strike on Iran, without U.S. support.

In a representative sampling of 505 Jewish Israelis, 60% also agreed with the statement that only military force could halt Iran’s nuclear program, while 37 % disagreed; and when asked if they believed that Israel’s home front will suffer equally whether its Israel that attacks Iran or the United States, 63% answered in the affirmative, as opposed to 29% who disagreed.

The survey also found that 64% of Jewish Israelis polled believe that the IDF could inflict significant damage Iran’s nuclear program, with 29% disagreeing.

Breaking down the responses further, Haaretz reported that religious Zionists were the most resolved about confronting Iran, and expressed the most confidence in the IDF’s ability to launch a successful strike against Iran.

These results, coupled with the earlier poll by Haaretz, suggest an apparently contradictory picture of Israeli feelings on Iran. But Israelis are simply saying: “Iran is an existential threat. The only way to deal with this threat is militarily. We will suffer no matter who strikes Iran. We believe Israel can launch a successful strike. But we really don’t want to go it alone – with all the denunciations, condemnations, and anti-Israel activity that is sure to follow, (and American cover is nice).”

Islam Expert: Numbers Don’t Add Up in CAIR Survey of US Mosques, Islamic Radicalism

Monday, March 12th, 2012

A survey released two weeks ago, sponsored in part by CAIR and titled “The American Mosque 2011,” revealed a tremendous growth in the number of mosques across the US in the ten years since 9/11. The primary researcher of the study claims that the conditions of public and government pressure and suspicion have contributed to – rather than deterred – this increase.

The survey’s researchers counted 2,106 mosques in the United States, mostly in or around big cities, with 503 mosques in New York state and California. While many mosques have historically been established by South Asian immigrants, the study found that newer immigrant groups such as Somalis, Iraqis, West Africans, and Bosnians have begun to erect their own mosques since 2000.

Ihsan Bagby, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Kentucky who was the primary researcher for the study, told Jaweed Kaleem of the Huffington Post that “the continued growth of the community is amazing.” Bagby, a Muslim, conducted similar surveys of mosques in 1994 and 2000. “It’s remarkable the amount of mosques that have been built in the last 10 years. It’s kind of counter-intuitive to factors working against them.”

David Yerushalmi, an expert on Islamic law and its intersection with Islamic terrorism and national security, provided some insight on the survey. “Indeed, Bagby’s references to the ‘factors working against’ Muslims in America since 9/11 is a not-so-veiled reference to the Muslim Brotherhood’s campaign to claim that Muslims are discriminated against in the US by what they term ‘Islamophobes,’ and that Muslim Americans are prevented from practicing their religion and from building mosques,” says Yerushalmi.

Yerushalmi, who co-authored the book “Sharia: The Threat To America, An Exercise in Competitive Analysis” and has been instrumental in drafting and enacting legislation to insulate state courts from the growing tendency to embrace constitutionally offensive foreign laws (including Sharia – Islamic law), says that the so-called Islamophobe campaign was initiated and funded in large part by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in coordination with Muslim Brotherhood groups in the US – with the lion’s share of the funding coming from wealthy Gulf Arabs. This campaign condemns anyone with a public profile who says anything critical about ‘Islamism’. ‘Islamism’ is the political movement manifest in the Arab Spring, he explains, especially in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists control 70 percent of the parliament, and seeks to apply Sharia as the law, not only of Muslim countries, but also of western countries with substantial Muslim populations.

One of the features of Sharia is capital punishment for apostasy (in other words, curtailing freedom of religion) and blasphemy (contradicting freedom of speech).

The survey reports that more than 98 percent of mosque leaders surveyed said that Muslims should be involved in American society, and 91 percent said that Muslims should be involved in American politics. 87 percent of mosque leaders disagree with the assertion that radicalism is increasing among young Muslims. Only six percent agreed that it was increasing.

In support of the last finding, which suggests that US Muslims are different from their brethren everywhere else, Haaretz published a story in early February about Imam Muhammad Shamsi who immigrated to New York from Indonesia, and emphatically condemned the pronouncement by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem that killing Jews is a “religious Islamic goal.”

“The Mufti presented a corrupted interpretation of the verse of the Koran and wholly misconstrued its meaning,” said Imam Ali. “[The Mufti] has adhered to the literal translation of the verse and completely ignored the necessary interpretation that is given to that passage,” he explained, adding: “This is a total error and his words are libelous because Islam is completely opposed to encouraging hatred between fellow men.”

Yerushalmi is quick to point out that, in effect, Imam Shamsi is saying there are two completely different kinds of Islam, one – in America – is rational and mature, while the other permeates the rest of the Muslim world – where 98 percent of the 1.2 billion Muslims live. There, survey after survey show that 50-70 percent desire a Sharia-based political order. Moreover, he points out, the same percentages of Muslims in those countries reject nationalism in favor of a revived transnational Caliphate (Muslim empire).

“But this survey, which was conducted in cooperation with Muslim Brotherhood groups in the US, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization the US Department of Justice named as an unindicted co-conspirator with the Hamas-tied Holy Land Foundation,” says Yerushalmi, “contradicts a more empirical peer-reviewed study published in two leading academic and professional journals in the Summer and Fall of 2011, respectively.”

Contradictory Results

That other study, often referred to as the Mapping Sharia study, was conducted and released by Yerushalmi himself, who serves as general counsel to the Center for Security Policy, a national security think tank in Washington, D.C., and Mordechai Kedar, assistant professor in the department of Arabic and Middle East studies and a research associate with the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies, both at Bar Ilan University.

The Mapping Sharia study took a representative sampling of all US mosques from 2008-2010 and measured adherence to Sharia (via observable examples of manifest religiosity, such as Islamic garb, enforced prayer lines, and gender separation) and the presence of violent Jihadist literature, much of which is the work of leading Muslim Brotherhood figures, and whether the imam of each mosque promoted such violent literature.

The results of that study show that 80 percent of the mosques in the US contain violent Jihadist literature and the imams in most of those mosques promote the violent literature. Moreover, there was a statistically relevant correlation between Sharia adherence in the mosques and the promotion of the violent Jihadist literature.

“But, obviously,” says Yerushalmi, “this newest survey, even if taken at face value, seems at odds with multiple reports on vehement anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic rallies and conferences on US campuses, fueled mostly by Muslim Brotherhood groups, along with Palestinian students and academics. Most recently, we’ve been treated to a story about Israeli Apartheid Week on the Brandeis University campus, of all places.”

But, of course, points out Yerushalmi, “the deeper problem with this new survey is that it only tells us what Muslim religious leaders were willing to tell surveyors. This says nothing about US Muslims, only about what must be viewed as a public relations effort by the Muslim Brotherhood groups who conducted the survey,”

Here are a few of the more interesting claims of of “The American Mosque 2011: Basic Characteristics of the American Mosque, Attitudes of Mosque Leaders.” The survey can be downloaded free online. (The list was delineated by Jaweed Kaleem)

- The average number membership of an American mosque was 1,248 in 2011, which counts Muslims who at least pray for Eid-al-Fitr, one of two major holidays, at the mosque. That’s down from 1,625 in 2000, and is likely because of a growth in the number of mosques.

- The total number of mosque participants or “Mosqued Muslims” has increased from 2 million in 2000 to over 2.6 million Muslims in 2011. In his study, Bagby writes that “if there are 2.6 million Muslims who pray the Eid prayer, then the total Muslim population should be closer to estimates of up to 7 million.”

“This number of Eid prayer worships is suspect,” says David Yerushalmi, whose Mapping Sharia study counted the number of regular mosque attendees. “Mosque attendance in the US is like other religious groups; less than half attend with any regularity. And, while mosque attendance at the Eid prayer is at its peak, if this number were correct, there would actually be an average attendance across 2100 mosques of 1,240 worshipers. That number is a gross inflation, because there is simply insufficient room for such crowds in most of the US mosques.”

Yerushalmi also explains that this finding of “Mosqued Muslims” is another indication of the lack of a sound methodology used by this new survey. “The claim that there are 2.6 million ‘Mosqued Muslims’ in the U.S. contradicts most other reputable surveys, such as a 2010 one by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which said there were only 2.6 million Muslims in the entire country.” A Pew report from last year said there were 2.75 million Muslims.

The Pew study also found that American Muslims are generally more assimilated and less religiously observant than Muslims in Muslim countries and most experts say that less than half of American Muslims attend a mosque regularly—a number in line with other religious groups in the US. While the Mapping Sharia study found that it is the Muslims who regularly attend mosques in the US who show the same level of Sharia adherence and tendency toward the violent literature as one finds in the global Muslim population.

- Seventy-six percent of existing mosques were established after 1980.

- Shiite mosques are growing. Around 44 percent of all Shiite mosques were established in the 1990s. Approximately 7 percent of mosques identified themselves as Shiite and 37 percent of those are in the West, especially California. Most Shiites at American mosques are South Asians, Arabs, and Iranians.

- A minority of mosques (3 percent) have just one ethnic group that attends. South Asians, Arab-Americans, and African-Americans are dominant ethnic groups among mosque members, but significant numbers of Somalis, West Africans, and Iraqis now worship at mosques nationwide.

- The number of mosques in urban areas is decreasing, while the number of mosques in suburban areas is increasing. In 2011, 28 percent of mosques were located in suburbs, up from 16 percent in 2000.

- The conversion rate per mosque has remained steady over the past two decades. In 2011, the average number of converts per mosque was 15.3. In 2000 the average was 16.3 converts per mosque.

Yerushalmi also takes issue with the self-reporting of the imams surveyed. “This number is patently an exaggeration and an attempt to claim greater success at ‘Dawa’ or proselytizing than the empirical evidence suggests.”

As Yerushalmi puts it, if this number were correct, one would expect 34,328 converts annually in the U.S. (2,106 mosques times 16.3 converts/year). This would represent a 1.3 percent US Muslim growth rate attributable just to conversion. “Yet, we do not see this reflected in the Muslim population increases over the years, especially when one factors in other variables such as higher than average birth rates and immigration, less deaths and drop-outs. The numbers don’t add up and what is most intriguing is that the researches simply ignored these anomalies.”

The survey also touts the the claim that 56% of imans follow the more flexible (modern) approach to Islam. What the data mentions, but the survey report ignores, is that in 2000, 71% of imams claimed to follow the more moderate path, indicating a 15% drop in moderation since the previous study.

And finally, the survey does not ask the one pertinent question that might possibly have given a more accurate insight into the actual degree of radicalism of the imams and their beliefs, if answered truthfully. That question being: “Do you support the application of Sharia law in the US?”

Americans Rank Iran as Top US Enemy

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

According to a Gallup poll released Monday, Americans rank Iran as the US’  top enemy.

The poll, which was conducted February 2-5, asked: “What one country anywhere in the world do you consider to be the United States’ greatest enemy today?” 32% of respondents said Iran, while 23% said China.  North Korea was the only other country to register in double digits, with 10%.

Iran has topped Gallup’s annual World Affairs poll each of the last five surveys, with the number of people perceiving Iran as America’s greatest threat rising 7% from last year.

Our Attraction To Drama, Alcohol And Other Distractions …And What To Do About It

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Our blinding attraction to drama has captivated so many of us. We love to live it, watch it, or even worse, create it. Nowadays it appears as if everyone has a “dramatic” story about his next-door neighbor, her estranged friend, their friend’s rude relative, etc. According to a recent survey, nearly half of our nation’s younger generation watches more reality television than they did last year, with those aged 18 to 25 watching close to four reality shows a week.

As if that were not enough, we are increasingly YouTubing, Facebooking, Twittering and texting ourselves into oblivion.

How about our growing addiction to alcohol? According to newly published data, one in every six Americans consumes eight mixed drinks within a few hours four times a month. Twenty-eight percent of us between the ages of 18 and 24 drink five times a month with the intention of becoming intoxicated.

Why do people dedicate so much time and effort to such futile preoccupations? Why do so many choose to be mentally and emotionally absent, via a variety of distractions, for significant portions of their everyday lives?

The first reason I’d suggest, which relates to our fascination with drama, is based in a grotesque form of egotism. When we see TV shows infested with lowly behavior and inappropriate comportment, it makes us feel good without our having to budge from the sofa. It’s a delightful pat on the back. It reassures us we are good people, despite the pangs of a guilty conscience that may periodically attempt to force us out of our comfort zone.

It certainly is true that in the republic of boorishness, mediocrity is king.

The second reason, which also relates to our attraction to drama, can be categorized as “modern voyeurism.” Human beings have an innate curiosity to explore the outside instead of the inside, the “you,” “him” and “her” in lieu of the “I.” This voyeurism is an easy way out of the long and tedious road to self-refinement.

Finally, there is a third reason – one that speaks to most of life’s deviations. It is best described as “escapism,” and it too is an effortless yet deceptive way out of misery. Decades ago, Walter Cannon, the renowned American physiologist, famously explained that when faced with challenges, human beings must choose between “fight” and “flight.” They can combat their difficulties or flee from them. Unfortunately, our gravitation toward drama and the many other modern-day distractions points to the growing tendency to flee from life’s moral responsibilities.

But can we truly rid ourselves of our prevailing drive to explore? Is it really wrong to flee from reality when stress threatens to invade?

The answer lies in the very definition of “man.” Centuries ago, the Talmudic Sages taught that the creation of man resembles the fusion of an animal and God. “In some ways humans are like the ministering angels of God. In other ways, they are like animals” (Chagigah 16a). In fact, the word for “man” in Hebrew – adam – conveys a dual meaning: on the one hand, it means earth and materialism; on the other, its meaning indicates a resemblance to God.

Perhaps this existential dichotomy explains our perpetual restlessness. Since two contrary dynamics exist in the fabrics of our being, we frequently vacillate between them. Sometimes we find ourselves enthralled by animalistic behaviors from within and from without, while at other times we heed to a higher calling from God and His ministering angels.

Unshackling ourselves from this inherent vacillation is close to impossible. Our powerful drive to diverge and explore will always exist. We must, however, learn how to funnel it from the selfish, hollow and animal self to the altruistic, purposeful and divine self. Our lives, and the lives that surround us, will then be filled with true joy, lasting serenity, and contagious kindness.

Finally, we also ought to remember that most challenges cannot simply disappear. True, every now and then temporary diversions from life can help us refresh and rejuvenate. But they cannot become permanent, for the vast majority of challenges will pursue us until we find the focus, courage and conviction to tackle them thoroughly and persuasively.

Moreover, we must rid ourselves of the perception that life’s blessings, such as peace and happiness, can be found outside. The “you,” “him” and “her” will never be able to substitute the blessings of the “I.” Indeed, the only path to self-improvement and genuine joy are introspection and the meticulous study of the inner self.

Years ago, as a teenager struggling with identity questions, I turned to my dear mentor, the world-renowned scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, for guidance.

“You seem troubled,” he said, “but I’m happy to find you in this situation.”

After a short pause and with his characteristic, engulfing smile, he explained: “You see, human beings are like electricity. In order to produce light, we too need a negative pole and a positive pole. Channel your thoughts and efforts from your negative pole toward your positive one. Create a circuit of positive thoughts and good actions, and your life will then surely engender light.”

48% of Likely US Voters Say US Should Help Israel if it Attacks Iran

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

According to a survey of 1,000 likely American voters, 48% of respondents want the US to assist Israel if it decides to launch a military attack on Iran.

Rasmussen Reports also found that 83% believe it is at least somewhat likely Iran will develop a nuclear weapon in the near future.

The national survey was conducted February 4-5, and has a 3% margin of error.

 

Survey: Big Upswing in Religiosity in Israel

Monday, January 30th, 2012

A newly-released study shows that while Israel continues to achieve major secular advances in fields such as science and technology, agriculture and economy, the populace is more religious now than ever before.

In a study called ‘Beliefs, Observance and Values among Israeli Jews’ commissioned in 2009 by the AVI CHAI Foundation and released on January 26, the Guttman Center at the Israel Democracy Institute reported that 80 percent of Jews living in Israel believe in God, more than ever reported in the two decades the study has taken place.

In comparison with the last studies on the subject, conducted in 1991 and 1999, more Israeli Jews consider themselves religious or “ultra-Orthodox” than previously.  Just 3% considered themselves “anti-religious seculars” down from 6% in 1999, with 15% calling themselves religious (up from 11%) and 7% Haredi (up from 5%), with 32% describing themselves as traditional.

Overall, members of the Sephardic community (Jews of Middle Eastern, North African and Spanish descent) had more religious respondents and fewer seculars, with former citizens of the Former Soviet Union expressing more secular sentiments and more removal from traditional practices.

Despite a large percentage of the population calling themselves secular, a whopping 72% agreed that prayer can help a person’s situation, 67% believe the Jews are God’s chosen nation, and 65% think the guidance prescribed by the Torah comes from God.  Just over a third of Israelis believe failure to observe Torah commandments puts fellow Jews in danger.  On the flip side, 80% believe that God rewards good deeds and 51% believe in the coming of the Messiah.  An overwhelming 92% agreed that one can be a good Jew even if one is not religiously observant. Only 40% said a child of a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother could be considered Jewish.

While 61% believed that Conservative and Reform streams of Judaism should have equal recognition to Orthodoxy in Israel, less than half (48%) accept non-Orthodox conversions as sufficient for being recognized as Jewish.

The study shows that Jews typically adhere to Jewish customs, with 94% calling ritual circumcision highly important, 92% saying the same about the Jewish mourning ritual of sitting shiva, 91% agreeing bar mitzvahs are highly important, and 90% believing it is crucial to say Kaddish for deceased parents. While 80% called having a Jewish marriage with a rabbi important, 51% said Israeli should enable civil marriages without rabbinical supervision.  One third of respondents said they observe the Sabbath scrupulously, though 65% said they watch television or listen to the radio on Shabbat.

As for holidays, 82% light Hanukkah candles, 68% fast on Yom Kippur, and 67% abandon leavened foods during the week long Passover holiday.  Just 36%, however, hear the reading of the Book of Esther on Purim.

At home, 76% of Jews said they keep kosher, though only 63% responded that they are meticulous about separating milk and meat products. Most Israelis (72%) would never eat pork.

Research about the relationship between religion and politics was also conducted as part of the study. Most respondents (65%) said they are interested or very interested in religion’s place in the state, with even more saying they are concerned with what it means to be a Jewish state (70%).  A hefty 87% said food served in public institutions should be kosher.

Eighty-five percent of self-described Hareidi Jews and 49% of religious Jews said that if they had to choose between obeying Jewish law or state law, they would choose Jewish law. An overwhelming 88% said they want to live in Israel for the long-term, with 84% calling themselves Zionists.

A huge improvement was felt in the relationship between secular and religious Jews in the recent survey.  While just 29% said relations between the two were good or very good in 1991, and a paltry 17% in 1999, a sizable 43% said the groups get along well in 2009.

According to a report in Haaretz, the rise in religiosity can be attributed to the successful absorption and assimilation of immigrants from the former Soviet Union and the high birthrate among Orthodox and Hareidi citizens.

The research was conducted in face-to-face interviews with 2,803 Israeli Jews.

Survey Says: Israeli Jews Becoming More Religious

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

A study published Thursday by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) and the AVI CHAI Foundation has found that Israeli Jews are becoming more religious.

The results of the survey, titled “A Portrait of Israeli Jews: Beliefs, Observance, and Values of Israeli Jews,” contrast significantly with the last survey undertaken in the 1990s, and suggest that the orthodox and ultra-orthodox communities are growing in demographic influence.

An overwhelming majority (85%) of Israeli Jews believe that it is “important to celebrate Jewish festivals in the traditional manner,” with 90% celebrating the Pesach Seder. The study also found that both the orthodox and ultra-orthodox communities “observe religious precepts more stringently than they did in the past.”

The last study found that attachment to Jewish tradition and religion had declined sharply, but this has been mainly been attributed to the mass influx of immigrants from the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-jews-more-religious/2012/01/26/

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