Poll: 80 Percent of Israeli Jews Believe in GodFeb 7, 2012 at 08:44:59 AM
A comprehensive survey of Israeli Jews shows that 80 percent believe in God – the highest figure since the founding of the State of Israel.
The survey, "Beliefs, Observance and Values among Israeli Jews" was conducted by the Guttman-Avi Chai Foundation.
The study also found that 65 percent of respondents believe that the Torah and mitzvot (commandments) are God-given.
These numbers are startling – even more so considering that one million Israelis are from the former Soviet Union, where Jewish religious practice laid dormant for 70 years, often on the pain of arrest and deportment to Siberia.
Unfortunately, not everyone welcomed the news. A piece in the Israeli daily Haaretz said the poll shows that Israeli society is “arrogant” and “primeval” – and how these beliefs are used to "justify all its iniquities." Another Haaretz piece said that the poll indicates that Israelis are “infantile,” “self-defeating” and “a nation in great pain.” In other words, belief in God and the destiny of the Jewish people represents everything wrong with Israeli society.
On the contrary, I would say this is precisely what is right with Israel society. After all, by what justification are we living in this land in the first place? Because we won the wars? Because the U.N. said so? Because we made the desert bloom?
Those may or may not be valid reasons, but they don't seem to be convincing the world of much.
Our real right is simply that God promised the Holy Land to the Jews as an everlasting possession. As it says: “He remembers His covenant forever, the word He commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant He made with Abraham, the oath He swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.’” (Psalms 105:8-11, 1-Chronicles 16:15-18)
(If you need more convincing, see Genesis 13:15, 15:18, 17:8, 48:4; Exodus 6:4, 6:8, 12:25, 13:5, 13:11, 32:13, 33:1; Leviticus 14:34, 20:24; Numbers 11:12, 14:16, 14:23, 27:12, 32:7, 32:11, 33:53, 34:2; Deuteronomy 1:8, 1:21, 1:39, 2:29, 3:28, 4:1, 4:21, 4:37-38, 6:10, 6:18, 6:23, 7:13, 8:1, 9:5, 10:11, 11:9, 11:21, 11:31, 12:1, 12:10, 15:4, 17:14, 19:8, 19:10, 19:14, 25:19, 26:1, 26:15, 27:3, 28:11, 30:20, 31:7, 31:20, 34:4. Not to mention the biblical books of Joshua, Judges, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Psalms, Nehemiah and Chronicles.)
Even the staunch secularist David Ben-Gurion, in a speech to the United Nations' Peel Commission in 1936, invoked the Jewish Exodus from Egypt and it's biblical promise as the core of Israel's claim to the Land.
All this gives me cause for optimism, especially now with a very real threat looming from Iran.
With 80 percent of Israelis sharing the same basic belief in God, it appears that Israeli society is not as "fractured" as some in the media would lead us to believe.
A nice message of Jewish unity that fits nicely with Aish.com's new film, "We Gotta Live Together."