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Poll: Israeli Jews, Arabs Oppose Intermarriage

August 24, 2014 By:
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Protesters hold signs in support of the wedding of Muslim groom Mahmoud Mansour, 26, and Jewish-born bride Morel Malka, 23, outside a wedding hall in Rishon Lezion on Aug. 17, 2014. Israeli police blocked more than 200 far-right Israeli protesters there shouting “death to the Arabs.” Photo by Flash 90.

TEL AVIV — Three-quarters of Israeli Jews and nearly two-thirds of Israeli Arabs would not marry someone from a different religion, according to a poll.

Conducted by Haaretz and the Dialog company on Aug. 19 and 20, the poll found that opposition to interfaith relationships was highest among haredi Orthodox Jews, at 95 percent. But 88 percent of traditional and religious Jews, as well as 64 percent of secular Jews, also opposed interdating.

Seventy-one percent of Muslim Israeli Arabs opposed interfaith relationships, but only half of Christian Israeli Arabs were opposed.

Across religious denominations, Israeli Jews would be much more opposed to their relatives marrying Arabs than they would be to relatives marrying non-Arab gentiles. Only a third of secular Jewish Israelis would be opposed to a relative marrying an American or European Christian, but a majority would oppose a relative marrying an Arab. Seventy-two percent of Israeli Jews overall would be opposed to a relative marrying an Arab.

Opposition to intermarriage was lowest among immigrants from the former Soviet Union. More than half would avoid having a relationship with a non-Jew, but if they were to fall in love with a non-Jew, only 35 percent would insist their spouse convert.

Two-thirds of Israeli Jews see intermarriage as a serious threat to Jews worldwide, and one-third see it as a serious threat to Jews in Israel.

The poll questioned 505 respondents and had a 4.4 percent margin of error.

Last week, a small far-right group protested in Rishon Lezion outside the wedding of an Israeli Arab and a Jewish-born Israeli who converted to Islam.

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