Poll: 21% of Jews 'more religious'
Survey conducted by Central Bureau of Statistics suggests 200,000 of adult Israeli Jews define themselves as newly religious; 42% consider themselves secular
Some 72% of Israeli Jews over the age of 20 reported visiting a synagogue in 2009, while 21% said that they are now more religious than before, according to a survey conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Meanwhile, 14% of poll respondents said they are now less religious than they were before.
The survey was conducted in January-December 2009 and sampled 7,500 people over the age of 20 representing some 4.7 million Israelis. According to the responses, Israeli Jews above the age of 20 comprise 8% haredim, 12% religious, 13% traditional-religious, 25% traditionalists who are not so religious and 42% seculars.
Some 5.4% of the respondents - roughly 200,000 - defined themselves as "newly religious."
About 49% of the newly religious said their motive for turning religious was acquiring new knowledge, some 25% did so under the influence of their families, spouses or environment and 17% turned religious following a personal crisis.
Observing Jewish tradition
When asked to what extent they observed the Jewish tradition, 25% of poll respondents said they did to a very high degree; 38% said to a great degree; 31% answered to small degree and 6% said they did not observe tradition at all. Among the secular population 86% said they observed tradition to some degree and 14% said "not at all."
The data show that Passover, Hanukkah and Yom Kippur were the holidays that most traditionalists and seculars observe. Some 52% of them light Shabbat candles but only 11% refrain from driving on Shabbat.
It was also revealed that while 48% make a point of eating Passover-kosher food during the holiday, only 33% eat kosher during the rest of the year.
The poll also revealed that 72% of all respondents said they visited a synagogue in 2009: 76% of men and 68% of women. Some 24% of seculars visited a synagogue on Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur.