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Ultra-Orthodox Jews recite the Priestly Blessing during the high holiday of Passover, in front of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Israel, 06 April 2015. Photo: EPA

Israel among the least religious countries in the world

Only 30% of Israelis say they are religious, survey finds

Israel is located in one of the most religious regions in the world, but Israelis have little faith, according to a recent WIN/Gallup poll that took the religious pulse of 65 countries.

Less than one-third of Israelis say they are religious, which is well below the norm in western Europe. It is however about equal with the level of religiosity in England and Scandinavia, the poll found, which are among the least religious areas in the world.

Around the globe, 63 percent of people polled say they are religious. Overall, the young tend to be the most religious (albeit by a narrow margin) – as are the least educated and the poorest, the poll found. Sixty-six percent of the world's people under 34 are religious, compared with 60 percent of others.

Only six percent of people with low incomes describe themselves as convinced atheists worldwide, compared with one-quarter of those with high incomes. Housewives are most likely to be religious, the Independent reported, followed by retirees and students.

In the Middle East and North Africa, 82 percent of people consider themselves religious and in Thailand 94 percent say they're religious, the poll found. In Israel, though, that global proportion is reversed, with just 30 percent saying they are religious and 65 percent saying they are either notOnly 30% of Israelis say they are religious, survey finds religious or convinced atheists (the proportion of self-identified atheists is just 8 percent however).

Also among the profoundly irreligious are communist China, where 61 percent of people say they are convinced atheists, and Japan, where only 13 percent profess to believe and 31 percent proclaim to be avowed atheists.

The population in the West Bank and Gaza comes closer to the regional average, with 75 percent saying they are religious and 18 percent saying they are not.

In the West, Sweden is the least religious country, with 78 percent saying they are either not religious or convinced atheists.

Source: Haaretz


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