Public Attitudes toward Abortion in Israel: A Research Note



Objective. For the first time since the mid-1970s, this study explored sociodemographic correlates of abortion attitudes among Israeli Jews and compared them with those reported by the General Social Survey in the United States. Methods. A survey in the representative sample of Jewish adults living in urban areas across Israel (N= 546) that included two related items on the attitude toward abortion for nonvital reasons. Results. Using multiple regression, four statistically and socially significant correlates of antiabortion attitudes were identified: Greater religiosity (especially Ultra-Orthodox affiliation), lower than average income, greater number of children, and right-wing political preference. Gender and age did not emerge as significant correlates of abortion attitudes. Whereas American Jews form the mainstay of the prochoice camp, Jews in Israel are clearly divided along the lines of religiosity, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and political views. Conclusions. In both Israel and the United States, the sociodemographic profiles of abortion supporters and opponents have been rather similar and stable over the last 25 years. This may point to the stable patterns of religiosity in both societies, since antiabortion sentiments have mainly been fueled by religious fundamentalism, regardless of formal denomination.