Extensive poll finds Jews, Arabs proud to be Israeli

IDF, president, Supreme Court trusted most; media least, IDI poll finds.

January 4, 2015 10:23
2 minute read.

An Arab woman sells holiday decorations during the Festival of Festivals. (photo credit: ARIEL COHEN)


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Both Jews and Arabs are proud to be Israeli, according to the extensive annual Israel Democracy Institute Democracy Index, which IDI president Yohanan Plesner and academic director Tamar Hermann presented to President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday.

The poll of 1,007 respondents, representing a statistical sample of the Israeli adult population, has a margin of error of only 3.2 percent.

Since 2003, the Index has served as a critical barometer of Israeli public opinion for Israeli politicians, government decision-makers, and newspapers of record around the world.

The poll found that 86% of Israeli Jews and 65% of Israeli Arabs described themselves as either very or quite proud to be Israeli. Only 13% of Jews and 34% of Arabs were not so proud or not proud at all to be Israeli.

When asked which institutions they trust the most, Israeli Jews said the IDF (88%), the president (71%) and Supreme Court (62%).

The institutions trusted the least are the Knesset (35%), Chief Rabbinate (29%) and media (28%).

Among Israeli Arabs, the most trusted institutions are the Supreme Court (60%), the police (57%), president (56%) and, surprisingly, the IDF (51%). The institutions least trusted by Arabs are the media (37%), Knesset (36%) and religious leaders (36%).

The poll found that the percentage of Israelis who see it more important for the country to be more Jewish than democratic has been rising for five years. The percentage saying Israel should be more democratic than Jewish also rose. The percentage saying it should be both Jewish and democratic has fallen drastically from 48.1% in 2010 to 24.5% in 2014.

Although 71% of Israeli Jews and 50% of Israeli Arabs said they do not support nor are active in any political party, 66% of the Jews and 53% of the Arabs are quite or very interested in politics, the study found.

Three-fourths of Israelis (77% of Jews and 64% of Arabs) believe that politicians look out for their own interests more than for those of the public who elected them. Twenty percent of Israelis (19% of Jews and 25% of Arabs) disagree with the statement that politicians look out more for their own interests.

Only 20% of Israelis believe they can truly influence government policy. Seventy-six percent of Israelis think they can sway government policy only to little or no extent.

Rivlin called on the public on Sunday not to shed its democratic right and to come out in large numbers to vote in the March 17 Knesset election.

“Disillusionment and indifference are the greatest danger to democracy” Rivlin warned, disagreeing with the majority of public opinion that believes the public has no sway.

“Only by coming out to vote can the public exercise its influence,” he said.

When asked to rate Israel on a corruption scale of oneto- five with one being the most corrupt 43.6% chose one or two; 31.4% said three; and just 19.4% said four or five.

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, who initiated an anti-corruption campaign last week, said the poll reflects the state of corruption in the country.

“This country does not belong to the corrupt, but to we citizens of Israel,” Lapid said. “Citizens of Israel are sick of their tax money going only to the well-connected and interest groups of parties.”

He promised that his party would pass a package off anti-corruption bills to change the situation.

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