TEL AVIV – Support for gay civil unions or marriage has ballooned over the past year with 76% of Israelis in favor, a new poll found.
The survey was conducted by the Smith Polling Institute for the Hiddush religious pluralism group amid Tel Aviv Pride Week festivities this week when the city celebrates the LGBT community.
Hiddush’s last poll in September of last year found that 64% of the Jewish public was in favor of same sex marriage.
500 people were asked, “In your opinion, should civil marriage/civil partnerships be available for same sex couples?”
Notably, 16% of hareidi – ultra-Orthodox respondents – answered said yes to the above question. 31% of haredim polled said that gay couples should be granted the same rights as heterosexual couples. However, 58% said gay couples should not be able to marry or register in any way.
Even though same sex marriage in Israel is technically legal, there is no authority to carry it out. Jewish Israelis marry through the Chief Rabbinate while Christians, Druze and Muslims marry through their own publicly funded religious systems.
90% of secular Israelis were in support of same-sex marriage or civil unions, followed by traditional Jews (77%) and nearly half (46%) of national religious.
Across the political spectrum, the poll found that those in favor included 74% of Likud voters, 93% of Kulanu voters, 80% of Yisrael Beytenu voters, and 57% of Jewish Home voters. The opposition parties were largely in favor, with 89% of Yesh Atid, 95% of Meretz, and 98% of Zionist Union.
Only the ultra-Orthodox parties’ voters in the coalition were against same-sex unions, with 73% of Shas voters and 95% of United Torah Judaism voters responding negatively.
“The survey results are a source of pride and a badge of honor for the Israeli public during Pride Month, but the political and legal reality in Israel is shameful,” said Hiddush director Rabbi Uri Regev.
“The data prove that the establishment of legal marriage for same-sex couples and religious freedom in general have practically become the public consensus of the Israeli Jewish population.
The public’s will has never been translated into legislation because all successive Israeli governments, from both the Left and the Right, have instead traded away the public’s freedom of marriage and divorce to the Orthodox parties in exchange for their political support.”