Survey: 80 Percent of Israelis Believe in God

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Results of a survey released Thursday showed that 80 percent of Israeli Jews have a fundamental belief in God.

The survey, jointly conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute's Guttman Center for Surveys and the Avi Chai Foundation in 2009, was released following a detailed analysis of the responses by 2,800 Israelis, Ha'aretz reported.

The study showed that 70 percent of respondents believe the biblical designation of Jews as God's chosen people, while 65 percent said the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) and the commandments were given by God. Fifty-six percent of respondents said they believe in life after death.

Less than half of those polled -- 46 percent -- call themselves secular, while only 22 percent identify themselves as Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox, with 32 percent defining themselves as traditional Jews. More than half of the respondents -- 55 percent -- believe in the coming of the Messiah.

Eighty-five percent believe in traditional observance of the Jewish holidays, and 70 percent said they generally followed the commandment to refrain from eating leaven during Passover.

Half of the respondents said civil marriage should be introduced in the Jewish state, while 61 percent favored ensuring that public life is conducted according to Jewish tradition.

Fifty-eight percent would like shopping centers open on Shabbat (the Sabbath, from sundown Friday through sundown Saturday) and 68 percent want restaurants, cafes and movie theaters to be open on Saturday.

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Ha'aretz contributed to this report.

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