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The term is used to distinguish them from the scrupulously observant Orthodox, whose lifestyle is determined by strict adherence to Jewish law.In terms of dating, for example, secular Israelis generally consider dating non-Jews a taboo, although they are most likely to pursue dating and courtship rituals that are similar to those practiced in the United States and Europe.This taboo is less pronounced among secular Israelis, where interfaith marriage is sufficiently common to motivate some Jewish men to establish vigilante patrols to guard against contact between secular Jewish women and Arabs, as discussed in a 2009 story broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR).Marriage is the favored status by religious groups in Israel, as indicated by 2008 statistics: marriage rates are highest in regions populated by religious Jews, and lowest in more secular communities.The Orthodox Jewish community in Israel is not monolithic either, and many will date through social contacts, although the dominant mode of courtship--particularly for the ultra-Orthodox, or "haredi" Jews--is the traditional matchmaking process, the "shidduch" process.Recreational dating is frowned upon, and dating only begins when each party declares readiness to find a marriage partner.
Physical contact between the couple is strictly forbidden, and the couple is expected to determine their compatibility for marriage within a short period of time.
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When it comes to dating and marriage, Israel is a country with three major populations: secular Jews, Orthodox Jews, and Arabs.
Eighty percent of Israel's 7.3 million population is Jewish; the remaining 20 percent, or 1.4 million Israeli citizens, are Arabs, most of whom are Muslim, with a small minority of Christian and secular Arabs.