Israelis may like to complain about the government, but a survey conducted by professors from the University of Haifa and Ben-Gurion University, which was published on Thursday, shows that overall satisfaction with public bodies is actually on the rise.
Since 2001, Prof. Eran Vigoda-Gadot, head of the University of Haifa's School of Political Sciences and the Center for Public Management and Policy and Prof. Shlomo Mizrachi from the BGU School of Business and Management have been tracking Israelis' perceptions of the public sector on a yearly basis. Their findings show that, overall, Israelis are satisfied with the services they receive and that, following a dive in the middle of the decade, satisfaction levels are back to what they were eight or nine years ago.
Titled "The National Assessment Project of Public Administration," the study measures Israelis' perception of a wide range of government bodies and agencies. The study is based on a survey, which asks a random sample of 563 people a long list of questions requiring them to score their perceptions - on a scale of 1-5 - of nearly every state service provider.
This year's overall satisfaction score stands at 3.15, compared to 3.08 in 2008. The highest score of the decade, 3.16, was measured in 2001.
The security apparatuses continued to receive the highest scores in terms of public trust. IDF soldiers and people who serve in the Mossad lead the list with an average score of 4.08, followed by Shin Bet agents who received 4.02 and IDF officers and commanders with 3.94.
The police still suffers from relatively poor perceptions, receiving a score of 2.73.
The court system showed a decline in terms of public trust dropping from 3.05 to 2.89 and in terms of public satisfaction dropping from 2.67 to 2.55. The court system was the only body to receive lower scores in public satisfaction from 2008 and 2009. Vigoda-Gadot characterized the shift as dramatic, especially in light of the relatively high scores it got at the beginning of the decade.
Satisfaction from education services scores remained nearly the same as 2008 at 2.78, but the study showed an overall decline for the decade. The welfare system saw a constant rise in satisfaction since 2005, but again an overall decline for the decade.
Israelis are becoming gradually more satisfied with the state's religious services, with an upward trend throughout the decade, from 2.66 in 2001 to 2.92 in 2009.
The government services that received the highest scores were the Israel Postal Company (3.84) and Israeli airlines (3.72). Bus and train services ranked lower with 3.52 and 3.55, respectively.
Faith in the national infrastructure systems dropped for the second consecutive year, measuring 2.82 in 2007, 2.69 in 2008 and 2.57 in 2009.
Israel's health services continued to receive high scores in public trust, with trust in hospitals, health care clinics and the Health Ministry all rising for the third consecutive year.
Public trust in print journalists has gradually declined over recent years and now stands at 2.94. Television and radio reporters receive somewhat more credit, earning 2.96. The highest trust scores were given to Army Radio, which earned 3.47.
Politicians were given low scores across the line, but more trust is given to municipal councilmen (2.46) than to members of Knesset and Cabinet ministers (1.93).
Bodies in charge of the country's finances - the Bank of Israel, commercial banks and the Ministry of Finance - all showed a common upward trend for the last three years. Bank of Israel employees received the highest score at 2.82.
In their conclusion, the authors credited the relatively positive attitude reflected in the findings to three main points: the military's rebound from the Second Lebanon War and its performance during Operation Cast Lead, the state's economic performance in the midst of a global economic crisis, and a relatively calm election and coalition building period.