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November 17, 1995 - Image 52

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-11-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Today's Israelis
Losing Their Religion

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any people are sur-
prised to learn that
most Israelis are not re-
ligiously observant peo-
ple. In fact, more than 50 percent
consider themselves secular,
while only 20 percent are obser-
vant/Orthodox.
The rest consider themselves
traditional.
Secular Israelis not only do not
practice Judaism, they also know
little about it. A recent Maariv
survey shows that only about half
of them know the basics.
Fifty percent knew that Jews
pray three times a day and 56
percent knew what a Siddur
(prayerbook) is.
But when it came to more dif-
ficult questions — which dealt
with issues just as important as
prayer in Judaism — secular Is-
raelis were lost for words.
Only 4 percent know the three
sins that Jews must never corn-
mit, not even if they have to give
up their lives (idol worship, mur-
der and incest). Only 16 percent
knew that Jews say the "Sh'ma"
prayer twice a day. And only 40
percent know what "Havdalah"
is (a blessing said at the end of
Shabbat).
The survey, according to
Maariv, sparked emotional re-
actions.
Israel Chief Rabbi Yisrael Lau
blamed the schools and parents
for secular Israelis' lack of spiri-
tual base and knowledge.
"In this area, [parents] are like
a blackout," he told Maariv.
"They darken Judaism to the
children and do not fulfill their
role in the historical relay race."
But other Israelis questioned
the need for this survey.
"In recent years, the question,
`Who is a Jew?' has become, 'How
much of a Jew?"' said filmmaker
Asi Dayan, son of the late Gen.
Moshe Dayan.
The fact that 57 percent of sec-
ular Israelis know that wearing
a yarmulke is not a biblical in-
junction did not impress Mr.

Dayan. "As far as I am concerned,
the yarmulke can appear in the
Bible — just not on my head."

Just A Test

The FDA recently gave Israeli
hospitals an early, and quite ex-
citing, Chanukah gift — the op-
portunity to test medicine for
U.S. companies.
The FDA has decided to rec-
ognize these tests when consid-
ering applications, according to
Yediot Ah.aronot.
Since U.S. companies pay hos-
pitals to test their medicines, this
is expected to generate up to $250
million a year for Israel, Yediot
Aharonot reports.

That's Your Opinion

You probably won't be shocked
to learn that Israelis are opin-
ionated people.
To capitalize on this mentality,
Channel One has started airing a
new program "Public Opinion
with Meni Peher" that links 1,000
people who, on live television, give
their opinions on a variety of is-
sues, according to Maariv.
The topics include politics, sex,
entertainment and fashion,
Maariv reports.
The great thing about this, Mr.
Peher told Maariv, is that, right
from the start, "we have already
raised our ratings by 1,000."
And that's not an opinion. It's
a fact.

The Not So Friendly Skies

Maariv recently sent a re-
porter on a unique assignment
— working undercover as a flight
attendant on El Al, Israel's na-
tional airline.
The reporter, however, uncov-
ered nothing new. Orit Harel
wrote that the passengers were
loud, demanding and obnoxious.
"The mentality of El Al pas-
sengers," she wrote, "is very sim-
ilar to the mentality of the Israeli
drivers."
It's a good thing, then, that they
have nowhere to go in skies.



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