Believe in Christ? Israelis baffled by unusual questions in driving test

Believe in Christ? Israelis baffled by unusual questions in driving test
Israelis have had to answer a bizarre range of questions when completing their driving theory test.
3 min read
26 July, 2023
Some Israeli drivers have been asked a range of intrusive questions [Getty]

Prospective Israeli drivers have been asked a range of bizarre questions when completing their theory test, including whether they believe in Christ or had ever indulged in any "unusual sex acts".

A true/false section of a standard driving test for some Israelis has listed a range of questions completely unrelated to the road, Haaretz reported, much of it enquiring the sexual preferences of the applicants.

"I am very strongly attracted by members of my own sex," "I have never indulged in any unusual sex practices," "I have often wished I were a girl," and "I believe in the second coming of Christ," are among some of the intrusive enquiries in the digital personality test.

The questionnaire is linked to the Israeli health ministry rather than any driving or transport authority and is part of a personality test devised in the 1940s.

While the health ministry has acknowledged the archaic nature of the test, it says it is unable to remove some of the questions as it would lead to the "cancellation of the recognition of the questionnaire".

It has instead reduced the number of intrusive queries about sexual preferences and gender identification and given applicants the option of not answering up to 25 questions.

Some Israelis are still calling for a complete overhaul of the archaic personality test, including Prof. Nadav Davidovitch, the director of the School of Public Health at Ben-Gurion University, who said it also has racial undertones.

"I think these are very inappropriate questions and as far as I understand they want to change it," he told Haaretz. "I'm not sure why it’s relevant for driving and also, of course, in general why it's relevant. It’s creating lots of stress, and also I think these are biased questions leading even to racism."

One man who completed the test for a taxi drivers license described it as coming from another century after being asked whether he ever considered becoming a nurse, is interested in acting, or goes to church every week. 

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"The Ministry of Health claims this test was designed in the 1940s. They're trying to determine if I'm a homosexual. How are they evaluating the answers to these questions?" he said. "If the questions are from the 1940s, are they evaluated according to the values of the 1940s."

While it appears unrelated to this test, the Religious Right have been expanding their influence in Israel's political and social spheres, particularly after a range of ultra-Orthodox and far-right figures were appointed to government in December.

There has been an ongoing debate about non-kosher food in Israeli hospitals and a judicial overhaul that has been backed by the Religious Right.