Two-thirds of Israelis back an army open to LGBT troops
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Two-thirds of Israelis back an army open to LGBT troops

Peace Index finds support declines with heightened religious affiliation, from 81% among the secular to 29% among Haredim

A staged photo uploaded to the IDF's official Facebook page to mark Pride Month in 2012 (photo credit: via Facebook)
A staged photo uploaded to the IDF's official Facebook page to mark Pride Month in 2012 (photo credit: via Facebook)

A large majority of Israelis say the Israel Defense Forces should espouse a “pluralistic and open value system,” including openness to LGBT soldiers, according to a major poll.

Among all religious affiliations except Haredim, majorities support such openness, the latest monthly Peace Index has found. The majorities are dramatic among the less religious: eighty-one percent of those who said they were “secular,” 76% of “nonreligious-traditional,” 57% of “religious” and 52% of “religious-traditional.”

Even among the Haredi public, where homosexuality and, for many, even military service, is taboo, fully 29% “believe the army should take a pluralistic approach,” according to the study.

The Peace Index, run by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, has polled Israelis on social and political issues each month since the early 1990s.

“The survey focused on the IDF’s relationships with the general public and with the political leadership,” the IDI’s report said.

File photo of soldiers from Nahal Haredi, an ultra-Orthodox battalion in the IDF (photo credit: Abir Sultan/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of soldiers from Nahal Haredi, an ultra-Orthodox battalion in the Israel Defense Forces (Abir Sultan/Flash90, File)

It found that nearly three-quarters of Jewish Israelis believe soldiers should obey their military commanders over religious leaders.

Respondents were asked whether a “religious soldier” should obey a “military order” or a “rabbinical ruling” in the event that they contradict. Some 72% of Jewish respondents favored the military order, while 12% favored the religious one.

A plurality of Israeli Jews — 42% — also said Israeli Jewish society has become more religious, while 36% said it is becoming less so.

Noting the ten-year anniversary of the 2006 Second Lebanon War, and the 60% of respondents who said that war was conducted poorly, the poll asked if the IDF would do better in the next round of fighting.

Large majorities of both Jews (68%) and Arabs (63%) said the IDF was ready to disrupt any Hezbollah attack.

The survey was conducted from July 25 to 27 among 600 adult respondents, divided into 500 Jews and 100 Arabs, with a margin of error of ±4.1% at a confidence level of 95%.

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