In recent years, the issue of tolerance towards the LGBT community has become a focal point in many societies, particularly in religious communities. A new survey conducted by Panels Politics for the Institute for Research on Judaism and Zionism has revealed that a substantial proportion of the mainstream Religious-Zionist community has an open attitude toward accepting people who identify as LGBT in their schools and synagogues.
The survey showed that 44 percent of those polled from the mainstream Religious-Zionist community said that a state-religious school should accept children who identify as LGBT. This is in contrast to the haredi-Zionist community, where just 23 percent of respondents said that such children could learn in a state-religious school.
When asked about accepting someone who identifies as LGBT in their synagogue or religious community, 62 percent of respondents from mainstream Religious-Zionism answered in the affirmative. Furthermore, 72 percent of traditionally-minded Jews and 35 percent of mainstream Religious-Zionists said they would accept those who had undergone Reform “conversion” into their communities.
However, the response was almost universally rejecting when asked about a convicted sex offender who had served out his sentence. Only 13 percent of mainstream Religious-Zionists said they would accept such a person into their community.
The survey also examined the type of education and level of sheltering Religious-Zionist parents wish for their children. 60 percent of mainstream Religious-Zionists said that they would like their children to be exposed to a variety of views, while just 29 percent of haredi-Zionists wanted their children exposed to a variety of views.
The results of this survey paint a picture of a mainstream Religious-Zionist community that is inclusive and accepting of the LGBT community in terms of welcoming them into schools and synagogues. This conflicts with the conduct of the state-religious education system and certain political elements. It is imperative that the heads of the state-religious education system formulate its policies with this in mind and embrace those who wish to observe a religious lifestyle, both in synagogues and in schools.