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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-387
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-387
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  03 Feb 2020

03 Feb 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Earthquake preparedness among religious minority groups: The case of the Jewish ultra-orthodox society in Israel

Tehila Erblich1, Zvika Orr1, Shifra Gottlieb1, Osnat Barnea2, Moshe Weinstein3, and Amotz Agnon2 Tehila Erblich et al.
  • 1Department of Nursing, Jerusalem College of Technology, Jerusalem, 9116001, Israel
  • 2Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, 9190401, Israel
  • 3Department of Electro-Optics Engineering, Jerusalem College of Technology, Jerusalem, 9116001, Israel

Abstract. To work effectively, emergency management systems that address the threat of an earthquake must consider the needs of minority groups. Studies have been conducted regarding earthquake preparedness among marginalized social-cultural groups and on ways to improve it. However, very few studies have examined this in the context of religious minority groups, even though religious frameworks can have an impact on emergency preparedness. This study examined the effects of religious beliefs and customs on earthquake preparedness among the Jewish ultra-orthodox community in Israel, a significant religious minority with unique social, cultural, and economic characteristics. Findings obtained using mixed methods that included a survey and in-depth interviews demonstrated that the majority of the community had a low level of hazard knowledge and a high level of disbelief that a devastating earthquake would occur in their area in the near future. This is despite a long-documented history of earthquakes that devastated the Levant. Low exposure to media, insularity of educational institutions, and suspicious attitudes toward state authorities were shown to hinder preparedness, whilst strong social capital improves it. Religious beliefs affected preparedness both positively and negatively. Practical recommendations for policymakers to improve preparedness in religiously diverse societies include receiving support from religious leaders and adapting technologies and information to be religiously appropriate. The findings establish that religion is a significant factor that influences all stages of disaster response and consequently, must be taken into consideration when attempting to upgrade preparedness.

Tehila Erblich et al.

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Tehila Erblich et al.

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