While Israel is a highly pluralistic society, with Jews coming from all parts of the world, and its citizenry inclined to define itself as ‘secularist,” most Israeli Jews, unlike Jews in virtually every other part of the Western world and certainly in the United States and Canada, are not familiar with Jewish religious pluralism as expressed through denominations. The overwhelming majority of Jewish immigrants to Palestine between 1918 and 1948 came from central and eastern European Jewish lands in which liberal expressions of Judaism were virtually nonexistent. Moreover, most Jewish immigrants to Israel in the years after the establishment of the State hailed from Eidot HaMizrach (North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia) where liberal varieties of Judaism also were not present.
Finally, the more than one million immigrants from the Former Soviet Union who have surged into Israel over the past decades emerged from a Communist background that knew virtually nothing of religious Judaism altogether. These more recent immigrants to Israeli shores are as unfamiliar with the modes of denominational religious identity that characterizes most American Jews as were earlier waves of olim from Eastern Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East.
Thus, almost all Israeli Jews emerged from backgrounds that knew nothing of denominational Jewish differences or liberal approaches to the Jewish religion.
Rabbi David Ellenson, “A Cry for Jewish Religious Equality in Israel”, The Jewish Week (24 July 2015), 16.