Trilcat vents about people who object to government allocations for synagogues, yet visit on holidays or when they want an aliyah for their son’s bar mitzvah. I am not sure that the people complaining about municipal allocations for religious purposes are the same as those stopping by for Ne’ilah on Yom Kippur. Large numbers of Israelis feel close to Judaism, even if it isn’t obvious, and want the government to support religious infrastructure.
In the few mixed religious/secular neighborhoods left in Israel, synagogues operate with a certain level of tension. The municipality donates land and funds to begin building, but the members raise the rest. Each family contributes several thousand dollars or more, not including maintenance costs. So while in theory the synagogue is a public building, members consider it their private domain. Shuls in my neighborhood offer membership only when they can provide a fixed seat for each male family member. So membership is closed, there is little room for visitors, and a shul can get “cliquey’ fast. And young couples and others without means have to hop around.
Our synagogue tries to strike a balance between accommodating the outside community and keeping maintenance costs reasonable. We host neighborhood bar mitzvahs, although they cause (preventable) disruption. The synagogue is wheelchair-accessible, including the bathrooms. The “gabbaim” direct visitors to available seats, so they won’t get kicked out by a regular. But unless they need a wheelchair, non-members can’t hold functions in the shul to minimize noise and traffic on the residential street.
For the last several years the shul has tried to attract neighbors to High Holiday prayers, and just gave everyone flyers to place in mailboxes. There is no charge for those who don’t want a reserved seat.