Effects of Religious Identity and Ethnicity on the Israeli-Jewish Electorate

in Israel Studies Review
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  • 1 Tel Aviv University eppie@tauex.tau.ac.il
  • 2 Tel Aviv University yasmin@post.tau.ac.il
  • 3 Tel Aviv University xthoreaux@gmail.com
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abstract

Ethnicity and religious identity are two major interrelated cleavages within the Israeli-Jewish electorate. Previously, ethnicity’s effect had a stronger impact on voting patterns, while today religious identity is more influential. Former studies conceived religious identity in terms of levels of observance, such as Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox. We claim that each of these groups has unique characteristics independent of degree of religious identity. To test this hypothesis, we measure religious identity as a nominal variable, applying an interactive model that compares the effects of the pairings of religious identity and ethnicity to a common baseline. Data from before the 2015 elections reveal that religious identity has stronger effects than ethnicity: religious groups support the right more than the secular. However, the ultra-Orthodox tend to support the right to a lesser extent than other religious groups. In closing, we compare the role of religious identity in Israel to its status in today’s world.

Contributor Notes

ephraim yuchtman-yaar is Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Social Psychology and Head of the Evans International Program in Conflict Resolution and Mediation at Tel Aviv University. E-mail: eppie@tauex.tau.ac.il

yasmin alkalay holds a master’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Tel Aviv University, where she serves as the Chief Statistical and Computer Consultant of Social Sciences. E-mail: yasmin@post.tau.ac.il

tom aival holds a master’s degree in Cognitive Psychology from Tel Aviv University, where he serves as a Research Assistant in the Evens Program of Conflict Resolution and Mediation. E-mail: xthoreaux@gmail.com

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