Religious freedom in Israel - questions

  1. Read out these statements, which are related to the relationship of different public institutions/spaces, and religious beliefs. Participants raise their hand and indicate their response by raising a different number of fingers, as follows. People can then make comments as to why they chose that response.

    1 - strongly disagree, 2- disagree, 3 - neutral, 4 - agree, 5 - strongly agree

    - It should be illegal to sell ‘chametz’ products in predominantly Jewish areas during Pesach
    - Public transport should run during Shabbat
    - Jewish communities can impose their own public rules within their own communities
    - Legal marriage in Israel should be run by a single religious stream
    - For legal purposes, Israel should have some sort of definition of what it means to be Jewish
    - The Western Wall should have a different prayer space for every group that desires one
  2. The recent court ruling to create an egalitarian prayer section at a separate part of the Western Wall was hailed by some, but rejected by others. Do you think it is possible to have a public prayer space that caters to all Jews, or is segregating different streams the only way forward?
  3. Israel was created as a democratic state for the Jewish people. What role do you think religious practice plays in public life today?
  4. Can these places/spaces in Israel be shared amongst Jews from different practices? Place your hands in the air for yes, cross arms for no, place hands on head for not sure:

    - City centre of Jerusalem
    - Meah She’arim (a well known Ultra Orthodox neighbourhood in Jerusalem)
    - Frishman Beach, Tel Aviv
    - Synagogue/Shule
    - Western Wall/Kotel