The Relationship between Religious Beliefs and Attitudes towards Public Health Infection Prevention Measures among an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Population during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Bruria Adini, Yoel Cohen, Ahuva Spitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The ultra-Orthodox population in Israel was heavily impacted by COVID-19; it is important to understand the factors that contributed to this. There may be a friction between religious versus governmental guidelines that may reduce adherence to COVID mitigation guidelines, such as social distancing and masking. The purpose of this study is to explore this tension and the extent to which it existed in the surveyed sample. The study identified attitudes of ultra-Orthodox individuals concerning religious and public health measures to mitigate COVID-19 infection. A closed-ended questionnaire was completed by 405 ultra-Orthodox Jews. Most respondents believe that religious learning protects from harm (91%); 74% believe that periodically there are inconsistencies between religious guidelines and medical guidelines; 59% believe that preventive medicine may clash with “Divine protection”. Some public health measures applied to contain the pandemic threaten religious lifestyle; this is a source of dissonance among ultra-religious populations, which may substantially decrease willingness to comply with public health measures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2988
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Information
  • Perceived anxiety
  • Public health
  • Ultra-Orthodox

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