Above: Naftali Bennett
Only 49% Of Right Wing Zionist Orthodox Voters Are Actually Zionist Orthodox, 11% Are Actually Haredi, New Study Finds
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
22% percent of Israeli Jews identify with Zionist Orthodoxy politically even though one third of those Israeli Jews are not even Orthodox, a new study has reportedly found.
In fact, the study found only 49% of respondents identifying themselves as Zionist Orthodox are either Zionist Orthodox, haredi-Zionist Orthodox (harda”l) or Modern Orthodox, Ha’aretz reported.
Instead, 24% defined themselves as traditional-religious, 9% traditional-secular, 11% haredi, and 3% secular.
These statistics are important because of how it might impact upcoming Knesset elections and helps explain why some new polls show the right-wing Zionist Orthodox HaBayit HaYehudi Party getting between 15 and 18 Knesset seats.
The study was conducted by Professor Tamar Hermann for the Israel Democracy Institute.
Because so many respondents in her new study identified as Zionist Orthodox even though they were actually not “raised the possibility that in the discourse and thought of the Israeli Jewish population today, the national-religious camp is a social-political category affinity that is not based purely on religiosity,” Hermann’s new study published by the Israel Democracy Institute notes.
In religious terms, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics 9.9% of Israeli Jews define themselves as Orthodox, 13.6% as traditional-religious, and 43% as secular.
Another surprise finding in Hermann’s study was the small number of respondents who defined themselves as hardal (haredi-Zionist Orthodox; haredi-dati-lieumi). Only 6% of respondents who said they were religious identified as harda”l, but for two decades harda”l rabbis and politicians have dominated the Zionist Orthodox political front.
Sociologist Profosser Asher Cohen of Bar-Ilan University, who did not participate in Hermann’s study and who is running for a seat on the Habayit HaYehudi Party’s Knesset list, is considered an expert on Zionist Orthodoxy. His research also shows that harda”l Jews make up only a small percentage of Zionist Orthodoxy.
“[Habayit HaYehudi’s Chairman Naftali] Bennett intuitively realized some years ago the precise sociology of this group. Suddenly it turns out that there are masses of people who do not conform to the Zionist Orthodox definition but do identify [as such]. This is a response to the rabbis who say: ‘If there are secular representatives in Habayit Hayehudi it is not a religious party…Habayit Hayehudi is an open camp with a religious Zionist foundation around which are very supportive circles. Some of those joining do not like elitism and extremism,” Cohen said.
Under the leadership of those rabbis, the various Zionist Orthodox parties including HaBayit HaYehudi became heavily Ashkenazi, pushing away many Sefardi voters and costing the parties large numbers of Knesset seats.