The figures behind the BBC’s claim of a ‘secular majority’ in Jerusalem

A filmed report made for BBC television news programmes was also posted on the BBC News website on August 3rd under the title “Teenager stabbed at Gay Pride march in Jerusalem dies” and in addition was embedded at the head of the website’s written report on the same topic: “Jerusalem Gay Pride: Israel teenage stabbing victim dies“.

Towards the end of that filmed report viewers are told by presenter Catharina Moh that:

“The gay pride event has long been a source of tension between Jerusalem’s secular majority and its Jewish Orthodox communities but the violent outcome of Thursday’s parade has shocked all Israelis.” [emphasis added]

The same claim appears at the end of the written report.

Jerusalem secular majority

According to information published on May 13th 2015 by the Central Bureau of Statistics and pertaining to the years 2013-14:Catharina Moh report

“Among the Jews in Jerusalem, 35% identify themselves as Orthodox, 18% identify themselves as religious, 12% as traditional-religious, 14% as not so religious and 20% as secular.” [emphasis added]

The Jewish residents of Jerusalem make up 63% of the city’s total population. There is no information available in that fact sheet regarding the self-identification of the city’s 37% Muslim and Christian Arab population but obviously a significant proportion would have to identify as non-religious for the city to be accurately described as having a “secular majority”.

The BBC’s claim of a “secular majority” in Jerusalem would therefore appear to be unfounded and inaccurate.


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