Religion in Israel: Muslims more devout than Jews or Christians

Jerusalem is considered a holy city in Islam, Christianity and Judaism.Reuters

Muslims in Israel are more devout than any other religious group in the country, according to data from the Pew Research Centre

But despite being more religious than any of their Israeli counterparts who are Jewish, Christian or Druze, Israel's Muslims place less emphasis on religion than their fellow Muslims in nearby countries.

In Israel 68 per cent of Muslims say religion is very important to their lives. This is compared to only 30 per cent of Jews across the four major groups. The figure is slightly higher for Druze (49 per cent) and Christians (57 per cent) in Israel.

However when that figure is compared to fellow Muslims in the region, Israel's Muslims are comparatively less devout.

In the Palestinian territories and in Jordan, both neighbours of Israel, 85 per cent of Muslims say religion is very important to their lives. In Morocco that figures rises to 89 per cent. Lebanon is the only country where that figure falls (59 per cent) but it is still a majority who say religion is very important.

The centrality of religion to Muslims in the the Middle East can be measured by observance to some of the key pillars of Islam. Slightly more than half of Israeli Muslims maintain the salat, which is the five daily prayers in Islam. That is compared to 63 per cent of Muslims in other Middle Eastern in North African countries. In Iraq, that figure is 83 per cent.

Islam's fast in Ramadan is another area where Israeli Muslims are less strict than others in the Middle East. At 83 per cent that figure is still very high but significantly smaller than the 98 per cent in Morocco and 96 per cent in Tunisia.

However on the shahada, the most fundamental tenet of Islam, Israeli Muslims match others in the region. In Israel the proportion of Muslims who say there is no God except Allah and that Muhammed is the prophet of Allah is 97 per cent. That figure is pretty much 100 per cent elsewhere.