Hiddush Survey: Most Secular Israelis Prefer a Non-Frum Wedding


cIn a poll that was conducted on 15 Iyar 5775, 80% of secular Israeli Jews responded that they would not have had Orthodox weddings if they had been given other alternatives. This is a dramatic increase from 67% during the summer of 2013. Nearly half of the Jewish public (49%) say they would marry outside of the rabbinate, given the option. This is also a significant increase from 39% in 2013 and 35% in 2009. The number of Jewish Israelis who prefer to get married in an Orthodox wedding ceremony reached an unprecedented low of 51%, compared to 61% in 2013 and 65% in 2009.

54% of women prefer a non-Orthodox wedding ceremony, versus 44% of men, citing the non-egalitarian nature of weddings conducted by the Chief Rabbinate.

These dramatic findings should be understood in the face of Israel’s legal reality, which only recognizes the legal validity of Jewish weddings officiated under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate, to the exclusion of civil and non-Orthodox religious weddings.

The question posed in the poll was: “If you or one of your children wanted to get married, which religious framework would you choose (assuming that all of these options exist and are recognized as equal in the eyes of the law)”. Only 51% of the total sample said they would prefer to have an Orthodox wedding, and of the 49% who preferred an alternative: 28% would prefer a civil marriage, 17% would prefer a Conservative or Reform wedding, and 5% would choose to live together without getting married.

80% of secular Israelis, 54% of the non-chareidi population, and 89% of immigrants from the former Soviet Union would prefer not to get married in an Orthodox framework. Even among traditional Israeli Jews, more than one third (35%) would prefer a non-Orthodox wedding framework. However, 65% of traditional Israelis, 96% of the religious Zionists, and 100% of the chareidi population would prefer an Orthodox wedding ceremony. Preference for non-Orthodox marriages is seen among a majority of those who voted for the Zionist Camp (Labor), Kulanu (which joined Netanyahu’s coalition), Yesh Atid, Israel Beitenu and Meretz. Even among Likud voters 44% preferred non-Orthodox marriages.

Hiddush leader Rabbi Uri Regev states “the survey clearly proves that the number of Israeli couples who desire to break free of the Rabbinate’s shackles is rapidly increasing, parallel to a growing level of disgust with the coalition’s political horse-trading, which comes at the expense of religious freedom and equality in shouldering the civic burden.”

Regev further reflected, “Not only does the Rabbinate’s monopoly not contribute to endearing and strengthening Judaism, it actually increases the public’s alienation from Judaism, which it identifies with religious fanaticism.” He added, “The results clearly indicate that Israeli Jews and world Jewry have much in common, and if Israel fully realized its founding promise for religious freedom, ultimately the majority of Israelis too would embrace pluralism in marriage. This issue has implications not only for Israeli citizens, but also for Diaspora Jewry. If freedom of marriage is not fully recognized in Israel, most of the younger generation of the Diaspora Jewish community would not be allowed to marry in Israel at all, since the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate does not recognize them as Jews or as Jewish enough to be allowed to marry other Jews. If anyone outside of Israel thinks that Israelis accept this religious coercion when it comes to marriage – this survey provides the real perspective.”

These findings were part of a public opinion poll commissioned by Hiddush and conducted by the Rafi Smith Polling Institute for Lag B’Omer. The poll was based on a sample of 500 people, representing the adult Jewish population, with a margin of error of 4.5%.

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(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. Wow. What a great article by the “deformed” lobby group. Who takes this seriously?

    Stop giving Uri Regev airtime. . His movement denies the divine origin of the Torah.

  2. First and foremost ,we all know how much these polls are worth
    They are called push polls :polls made to sway the public

    Recently Hiddush claimed out the fact that “among the supporters of public transportation on Shabbos are 72% of voters for the Likud”

    while the number actually according to secular Israel Hayom was a minority of 47%

    The Chief Rabbi of Denmark was asked on Danish TV how he could support Bris if 75% of those polled in Denmark are opposed .

    His response:The zoo in Copenhagen recently put a giraffe to sleep even though some 75% of those polled were opposed to it.

    So how come?

    When something is right and necessary and,you do what you have to do and ignore the polls.

    The TV anchors laughed in agreement

  3. Now one can understand why the Gedolim were so adamant with Ben Gerion that all marriages must be carried out by Orthodox Rabbis. Can you imagine what type of mess Klal Yisrael would be in right now if they weren’t? How many mamzerim there would be! How many people would be marrying goyim (such as Russians that came here along with the Jewish Russian immigration in the early 90’s) and producing goyishe kinder that thing they are jewish! It would be terrible!

  4. It doesn’t matter what the survey says, people will do what they want regardless.
    Often people just think that if they compromise, that other people will come around. Like parents, they want to blame themselves(in this case, the rabbinate for not being inclusive, understanding, etc. enough).
    If I just make this change or if we just compromise, surely they will see our ways are good and they’ll do the right thing.
    These people are like most liberals who think that compromise solves all the problems.
    It will not, the will to do the right thing has to come from within the person and the changes that these well meaning people advocate will only weaken the tzibur and confuse those who are still observant.
    Many of these people advocating change do not even realize how their enthusiasm for “religious freedom” is akin to the Hellenism of years ago.
    Is this a Jewish State or not?
    On what right do we claim Eretz Yisrael if not on the Divine Promise?
    True, there are problems, Russian immigrants, Diaspora Jewry with all their different movements, but these problems are not solved by creating new ones.
    People have to be responsible for their own failings, don’t we see that all over the world?

  5. Why do you keep publishing self-serving surveys by a rabid anti-religious group like Hiddush?!They mean nothing except what Hiddush wants it to show-non one in their right mind would ever take Regev seriously!

  6. 1/3 of Israelis are leaving the country to get married in another country (Usually Cyprus or Europe),

    Enforcing the halacha with an iron fist and not allowing for some lenciency when dealing with non-charedim just doesnt work (Things like Dual ring ceremonies or where the Rav asks the husband to go the Mivah (In order to get the woman to go)) need to be done when dealing with them

  7. #8

    In Israel there is only frum weddings, There is no secular weddings like in the states and the Charedi Rabbanut doesnt veer from that at all. The more Dati Leumi ones allow some deviance like double ring or encourging both husband and wife to go to the Mikvah.

    The charedi leadering doesnt understand that unlike their own flock, the masses are not asking for their opinion and dont want it, the only way to get them to oblige is to convience them gently and not co-erse them

  8. That’s a great reliable source. You can’t get more impartial to religion than Hiddush, can you? This is such a joke I don’t know why it was posted.

  9. zahavadad
    First of all double rings is nothing new, it was done generations ago in Europe and even before. The mikva is also something that all chassidim do (i mean men)Besides the Rabbanut calls themselves Dati not Chareidi.