7% of Israeli Jews Are Reform or Conservative

Some 7.1 percent of Israeli Jews define themselves as Reform or Conservative, according to the soon-to-be-released Israeli Democracy Index for 2013.

This figure might sound surprisingly high, considering that there are only 110 Reform and Conservative synagogues in Israel. But it is actually slightly less than the figure found by a different survey published last year: In that survey, 8 percent of Israeli Jews considered themselves Reform or Conservative.

The latest Israeli Democracy Index survey, commissioned by the Israel Democracy Institute from Chanan Cohen and Prof. Tamar Hermann, took place in April and May of this year. It questioned 854 Jewish respondents who comprise a representative sample of Israel’s adult Jewish population.

One of the questions was, “Do you feel that you belong to one of the denominations of Judaism and if so, to which one?” The survey found that 3.9 percent of respondents felt an affinity to Reform Judaism, 3.2 percent to Conservative Judaism and 26.5 percent to Orthodox Judaism. The rest said they felt no connection to any denomination or declined to respond.

The previous survey found that 4 percent of Israeli Jews viewed themselves as Reform and another 4 percent considered themselves Conservative. But when asked about religious practice, only a minuscule 1 percent of all respondents said they prayed or regularly attended religious services in those branches.