Survey: 44% Jewish Israelis are secular, 8% ultra-Orthodox
Jews who define themselves as secular are characterized by the greatest incidence of higher education.
In a Central Bureau of Statistics social survey covering 2002-2004, 44 percent of Israeli Jews aged 20 and over defined themselves as secular; 27 percent defined themselves as traditional; 12 percent as traditionally observant; 9 percent as Orthodox; and 8 percent as ultra-Orthodox.
The survey found a particularly high rate of secularism - 63 percent - among native Israelis of European or North American origin, compared to 33 percent among native Israelis of Asian origin, and 25 percent of native Israelis of African origin.
Religiosity among the immigrants who came in the 1990s and onward is low compared to that of Israeli-born Jews.
Jews who define themselves as secular are characterized by the greatest incidence of higher education - 32 percent.
In 2004, 81 percent of Israel's population defined itself as Jewish; 12 percent as Muslim; 3.5 percent as Christian (both Arab and non-Arab); 1.5 percent as Druze; 1.5 percent as atheist; and another 0.5 percent as members of other religions.
Among the Arab population, 11 percent defined themselves as very religious; 49 percent as religious; 21 percent as not so religious; and only 18 percent as not religious at all.
The lower the degree of religiosity, the higher the rate of Arab women of working age who are employed - from 5 percent among the very religious to 36 percent among the non-religious. The rate of Arab women in full-time jobs among the non-religious is 12 times higher than among the very religious - 25 percent compared to 2 percent.
Among Israel's Christians, 32 percent defined themselves as not religious, compared to 48 percent of Druze.
The survey did not find any striking difference in the degree of religiosity of Jewish men and women, whereas in other religions the women tend to be much more religious.
The survey of Jews found that the rate of ultra-Orthodox orientation and secularism decreases with age. A drop in religiosity among Jews is accompanied by an increase in the level of income per capita, although those who define themselves as traditionally observant are closer than the Orthodox to the ultra-Orthodox in terms of income brackets.
Among the ultra-Orthodox, 58 percent of men define studying as their primary activity, compared to 9 percent of all other Jewish men. Nearly three-quarters of ultra-Orthodox individuals (72 percent) live in households in which the monthly income per capita is up to NIS 2,000, compared to 20 percent of secular Jews and 36 of Orthodox Jews.