Israelis are more concerned with socioeconomic problems than the country’s international standing, the June edition of Tel Aviv University’s monthly War and Peace Index found.
Eighty percent of respondents to the survey said that socioeconomic issues were troubling to them, while 70% said they are worried about Israel’s international situation, in light of the possible declaration of a Palestinian state at the United Nations in September.
Meanwhile, 62% said the government’s performance on socioeconomic issues is poor.
Notably, when asked whether they would prefer that Israel enjoy
continued economic growth and stability, or that efforts be made to the
reduce the widening gap in income distribution, 95% of Jewish
respondents and 89% of Arab respondents said they would prefer that
efforts be made to reduce income disparity.
When asked whether their personal and family economic situation has
changed in recent years, 27% of the Jewish public responded that it had
improved, 41% said that it had not changed and 31.5% indicated that it
had worsened. The corresponding figures for the Arab public were 19%,
1%, and 75%, respectively.
Professor Tamar Hermann, the paper’s co-author, told The Jerusalem Post
on Monday that this was the first time the index had compiled data on
socioeconomic issues, after she and colleague Ephraim Yaar took into
account the recent protests over food and housing prices.
However, she said the concern over such issues is most likely temporary,
adding that she wouldn’t say if Israelis are more worried about
security, or that there has been a basic change in people’s perception –
but rather that Israelis have been influenced by global events.
“It’s the issue that bothers people [right now], and has accumulated some momentum.
Probably there is spillover from what has happened in Athens, in Spain
and in Tahrir Square in Cairo, where the issue of economic conduct of
government is now at the top [of the agenda],” she said.