Poll: Likud voters favor recognition of Reform, Conservative groups

A very large majority of Likud voters support recognition of the Reform and Masorti (Conservative) denominations in Israel, while a plurality support proposed renovations to the Western Wall egalitarian prayer section, a poll has shown.

Conducted by Dialog for the Reform Movement in Israel, the survey comes after Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev of Likud from her position on an authorizing committee for the egalitarian section renovations, and after the prime minister faced severe difficulties in getting another minister to take her place.

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According to the poll, 71% of all Likud voters support the state recognizing “all denominations of Judaism” over the current situation in which “there is only recognition for the Orthodox rabbinic establishment,” compared to 29% who oppose.

And 63% of respondents said they supported instituting civil marriage, something currently unavailable here, compared to 30% who opposed.

Forty-one percent of those polled said they supported Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to renovate the egalitarian section, compared to 32% and 27% who said they did not know, while 37% said Regev erred in quitting the committee while 36% said she was right to do so.

Regev said she quit as a matter of conscience since she could not support mixed gender prayer at the Western Wall, even in the separate egalitarian section, despite previously supporting such prayer services.

Some 44% of respondents said Netanyahu and Likud ministers should express opposition to the numerous disparaging comments made by Orthodox rabbis and politicians, while 66% said the state should invest “significant efforts in solving the crisis with the Jewish Diaspora.”

The poll was conducted among 400 Likud supporters during the first week of July with a margin of error of 5%.

Director of the Reform Movement in Israel Rabbi Gilad Kariv said the results showed that a large number of Likud supporters believe in religious pluralism, and specifically support the Western Wall egalitarian section.

“Unfortunately, some of Likud’s elected officials ignore this fact and chose to capitulate to extremist pressure groups who have taken control of power points within the ruling party,” said Kariv.