#142 Ethnicity & Religions in Israel Today

#142 Ethnicity & Religions in Israel Today 

#1 WATCH: December in Israel

#2 STUDY: Religion in Israel

Religion in Israel is a central feature of the country and plays a major role in shaping Israeli culture and lifestyle, and religion has played a central role in Israel’s history.Israel is also the only country in the world where a majority of citizens are Jewish. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, the population in 2011 was 75.4% Jewish, 20.6% Arab, and 4.1% minority groups.The religious affiliation of the Israeli population as of 2011 was 75.4% Jewish, 16.9% Muslim, 2.1% Christian, and 1.7% Druze, with the remaining 4.0% not classified by religion, and a small Baha’i community.

Israel does not have a constitution, but freedom of religion is anchored in law. While the Basic Laws of Israel that serve in place of a constitution define the country as a “Jewish state,” these Basic Laws, coupled with Knesset statutes, decisions of the Supreme Court of Israel, and various elements of the common law current in Israel, also protect free practice of religion in the country. Legal accommodation of the non-Jewish communities follows the pattern and practice of the Ottoman and British administrations with some important modifications. Israeli law officially recognizes five religions, all belonging to the Abrahamic family of religionsJudaism,ChristianityIslamDruzeism and the Bahá’í Faith. Furthermore, the law formally recognizes ten separate sects of Christianity: the RomanArmenianMaroniteGreek,Syriac, and Chaldean Catholic Churches; the Eastern Orthodox Greek Orthodox Church; the Oriental Orthodox Syriac Orthodox Church; the Armenian Apostolic Church; and Anglicanism.[6] Relations among religious groups–between Jews and non-Jews, between Muslims and Christians, and among the different streams of Judaism, such as Orthodox, Reform and Conservative–are often strained. [4]

#3 WATCH: Faith in the Holy Land: Jews

#4: Watch: Faith in the Holy Land: Muslims 

#5: Watch: Faith in the Holy Land: Ba’hai 

#6: Watch: Faith in the Holy Land: Christianity

# 7 Review and Response

  1. Name three non-Jewish religions that are actively practiced in Israel.
  2. Why does Israel have freedom of religious practice in Israel?
  3. What did you learn about Islam?
  4. What did you learn about Christianity?
  5. What did you learn about Ba’hai?

Need some help? We’re here for you. At any time, if you have any questions, please contact one of our teachers so we can help you. Also, at the end of the session, remember to review your responses in your Tamid Workbook so you can get credit for this lesson. Behatzlacha (Hebrew for good luck)! You can reach Sarah at (646)360-0689 or connect@tamidnyc.org