Israeli flags 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Despite growing international anger over Israel’s policies, the majority of its citizens believe that the Jewish state is the best place in the world to live, according to the annual Social Strength Index, released Sunday evening to coincide with the opening of the seventh annual Sderot Conference for Society on Tuesday.
But while 69 percent of the 540 people questioned for the survey (in Hebrew, Arabic and Russian) said they believed Israel was the best place to live, and 75% said that even if they had the financial means to leave they would not do so, only 55% expressed pride in their country citing violence, corruption and poverty among the most troubling issues faced by Israel today.
Although the “pride” figure is down seven percentage points from last year, Maj.- Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan, president of the Sderot Conference for Society, said that the figures overall suggest an increase in national pride and said that despite growing socio-economic gaps, the country’s economic status seemed to be improving.
“Even though there are concerns over issues such as violence, corruption, poverty and the growing gaps between rich and poor, the public is proud of this country and sees it as their home,” Dayan said, in a press release.
Violence in society, corruption and poverty stood out as the public’s greatest worries, reflecting little change over the past two years. Fewer people than in the past, however, said that the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians was a barrier to feeling proud of their country.
Eighty-one percent of those questioned cited violence in society as a major source of disappointment, while 72% said it was corruption among the country’s leaders and 70% blamed the growing gaps between rich and poor.
The Palestinian conflict came in fourth, with 69% of the public saying this stood in the way of their feeling pride in the country, a fall of two percentage points from the previous year.
The study also noted that since last year there was a massive increase of 14% in the number of people who said the disengagement from Gaza made them feel disappointed with the country, while fewer people than ever before – 37%, a fall of 10% from the previous year – said racism and mistreatment of the country’s Arabs prevented them from being proud Israelis.
However, only half of those questioned said they felt the state would always protect them and only 39% said they felt this country promised a better future for their children.
The survey also asked those surveyed about their economic situation. One
in four of the respondents stated that they lived in poor economic
conditions that allowed them to only “survive” financially each month.
More than a quarter said they had been forced to reduce their family’s
standard of living over the past year and 60% expressed a deep concern
that they would not be able to save enough money for the future.
For the first time in four years, God came in first as the main external
influence on a person’s financial fortunes, with 22% citing Him,
followed by education (16%), being born to the right family (11%),
personal talent (8%) and luck (8%).