Religion Magazine

Survey Shows Most People Dont Hate Haredim and Dont Care About Them

By Gldmeier @gldmeier

I have not known what to do with this information. I have been sitting on it for a while now, considering it, since it was publicized right before Pesach, but I haven't known what to say about it.
Here it is.
A survey was conducted, by Israel's top pollsters, about haredi-hiloni relations. The results are found to be astounding by some, though it barely generated any discussion. Mishpacha dealt with it intensively in their Pesach edition of their newspaper-magazine, but besides for that, it went almost unnoticed.
Here is the salient points of the poll, courtesy of Channel 10:
* 90% think the Jewish identity of the State needs to be safeguarded
* 48% wouldnt care if their daughter married a gentile
*27% think their is nothing positive about the qualities of the haredi community
* 6% pointed out about chessed of the haredi community being unique
* 77% think that the lifestyle of the haredi community does nothing to help safegaurd the jewish nature of the State.
* 73% think Yair Lapid has not targeted the haredim in any way
* 85% are aware of the "million man rally" of the haredi community but nobody could identify the point of the rally
* 49% think the educational system doesnt do enough to safeguard the Jewish identity of the State
* 89% want their kids to know more about Jewish tradition and ancient Jewish values
* 63% think a minister in the government should not refuse to sit with haredim
* 82% of secular employers say they would hire haredim
* 93% think there should be dialog between haredim and hilonim
* 77% of secular say they personally know a haredi person. 85% of those people have a positive impression of that acquaintance.
* 62% of workplaces dont have any haredim
* 62% of secular would not mind living in the same neighborhood as haredim
* of those that already live near haredim, 77% see no problem living near haredim
Mishpacha had publicized some more details from the survey, and they all pointed to the same trend. Most people are basically ambivalent to the Haredim. People care about them very little. there is very little hatred towards them. Mostly ambivalence and unfamiliarity.
I have not known what to say because this poll basically supports everythign I have always said about haredi-hiloni relations. The hilonim, largely and with exception, don't hate haredim. They don't know about them, they don't think about them, they dont care about them. But they dont hate them.
This reminds of something I was once told in the name of a Reform Rabbi who personally became Orthodox (in Chicago). He was asked what, from hsi days as a Reform rabbi, they had thought of the orthodox community. His response was that they rarely thought about the, He said the Orthodox are such a small percentage of the Jewish population that they are basically irrelevant. At times, issues came up, but on a day to day basis, people just did not think about them.
Mishpacha dealt with the ramifications of the survey, exploring the whys and hows of what to them was surprising information. They did come to one interesting conclusion - that almost all haredi pr and publications are only internal - nobody else is getting the message. All that Haredi PR is almost completely "patting ourselves on the back".
A lot of blame for perceived hatred was heaped on the media and some activists.
One thing I think they did not broach, and I think this might be a large part of why the haredi community thinks they are always under attack, is politics. Specifically haredi politics.
To explain briefly, I have been in Israel over 25 years. I do not remember a single election in which the haredi politicians did not campaign on the theme of this being the most important election ever with the entire israeli system ready to attack the haredim and their lifestyle and everyone must rally around the haredi party to protect the community. I think, in addition to blaming others who have some part in the role of the perception of hatred and anger, haredi politicians bear some blame as well. They rile things up, even if just internally, creating an impression of victimhood, in order for people to rally around them.

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