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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Israelis more tolerant of Islam

Rabbi says Israelis more tolerant of Islam than Swiss
Israeli Jews oppose ban of Islam's minarets: poll

Last year Switzerland, which only has four minarets, banned the Islamic structure

Forty-three percent of Jews would not support a ban on Islam's minarets in Israel, a survey revealed Tuesday, which an American Rabbi said showed Israelis are more tolerant to Islam than their Swiss counterparts.

The recent survey, conducted by Jerusalem-based KEEVOON Research, for the U.S.-based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU), found that only 28 percent would support a ban on minarets in Israel, a large contrast to the 57.5 percent of voters in Switzerland who voted for the ban, and 29 percent were undecided.

"When it comes to freedom of religion Israelis are apparently much more tolerant than their Swiss counterparts," FFEU's president, Rabbi Marc Schneier, was quoted by Israel's Ynet news as saying.

Israeli press reported that the strongest opposition of banning minarets came from national religious Israelis, 55 percent of whom said they would "strongly oppose" such a ban, and 53 percent of ultra-Orthodox Jews said they were opposed.

"There is a definite correlation between religious observance and tolerance towards Islam," Schneier said, adding "Israelis seem to put politics aside as opposition to banning minarets actually increases as we move further to the right on the political spectrum."

Schneier said "the fact that less than one-third of all Israeli Jews support banning minarets indicates that from the Israeli point of view, there is room for respectful coexistence between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs when it is based on religion and not politics.”

DUBAI (Al Arabiya)


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