Poll: Most Israelis Oppose Intermarriage

Jews more averse than Arab to intermarriage with people of other religions, poll finds.

Mahmoud Mansour, an Israeli Arab, and Jewish-born Morel Malka arriving for their wedding, which raised the ire of right-wing Jewish extremists.Ofer Vaknin

Israeli Jews are more opposed to intermarriage than Israeli Arabs, with fully 75 percent of Jews saying they would refuse to marry someone of a different religion, a new poll by Haaretz found.

Among Arabs, only 65 percent said they wouldn’t marry someone of a different religion.

Fully a third of Arabs said that religion wasn’t a factor in choosing a spouse, whereas only one-fifth of Jews said the same. In addition, 60 percent of Jews said they would object in principle to one of their relatives dating a non-Jew, compared to 54 percent of Arabs who said they would object to a relative dating a non-Arab.

The poll, conducted by the Dialog company this week under the supervision of Prof. Camil Fuchs, found that even among secular Jews, opposition to intermarriage was high: Almost two-thirds of secular respondents said they would refuse to marry a non-Jew.

It also found that Jews were more opposed to intermarriage with Arab Christians than with non-Arab Christians. Thus while only 44 percent of Jewish respondents said they would try to prevent a relative from marrying a new immigrant who was non-Jewish according to Jewish law, and 53 percent said they would try to prevent a relative from marrying a Western European or North American Christian, 72 percent said they would try to prevent a relative from marrying an Arab, whether Muslim or Christian.

Two-thirds of Jewish respondents said they thought assimilation posed an existential threat to the Jewish people. But only one-third said they thought assimilation posed a serious threat in Israel.