Equal rights for women worshipers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem may be one of the top headlines of 2013, especially for Jewish media, but the journalists who are covering this and other stories do not rank it as one of the most significant issues facing Israel.
"The headlines in the news may not be what journalists themselves think is important," said Alan Abbey, Director of Media and Internet Services at the Shalom Hartman Institute, who is conducting the research. "Even the Iranian threat, while considered very important, does not rank as number one in the results."
Ranked in order of importance, according to survey results of journalists for Jewish media in the US, Canada and Israel, the four top issues facing Israel are:
Equal rights for women worshipers at the Kotel (Western Wall). That issue was ranked seventh out of eight issues in importance and below the mean (average) ranking of issues.
Importance of Issues Facing Israel
Social, economic imbalances
Nuclear threat from Iran
Ultra-Orthodox / Haredi Jews
Official recognition of non-Orthodox streams of Judaism
Gender imbalances / women’s rights
Threats to Israeli democracy
Israel’s parliamentary political system
Right of women to pray with tallitot & Torah at Western Wall
Racial prejudice among Jewish Israelis (Sephardic/Ashkenazi differences)
Answers were on a scale of 1-5, with 1 indicating the least important, and 5 indicating most important. Source: 2013 Survey of Journalists for Jewish Media, iEngage Project of the Shalom Hartman Institute
Further analysis of these data and other results are under way and will be released in the final report, which is scheduled to be unveiled at the 2013 convention of the American Jewish Press Association in Seattle, Washington, in June. For information on the survey, contact Alan Abbey