(photo credit: AP [file])
A survey released this week by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel has found that despite media images of Israeli refugees fleeing during last month's war with Hizbullah, 86 percent of residents of the North stayed at home, leaving the troubled area for only a few days' respite.
"The result was extremely surprising. I asked my people to double-check the data," commented Taub Center director Ya'acov Kop. "I hate to say 'media, media, media,' but it seems that it played a part in painting this incorrect image for us."
According to the survey, which questioned 700 people countrywide throughout September, 85% of residents from the North did not leave their locales, though 9% said they left for a few days only.
In the "areas of the bomb shelters," such as Metulla, Kiryat Shmona and Nahariya, 63% of the residents stayed put and in the "areas of the sealed rooms," 79% said they did not leave their homes.
In the Israeli Arab sector, the survey found that 90% of people did not leave their neighborhoods, while among the Jewish population, that number was 66%.
From the survey, the center determined that those most likely to have left home during the war period were those from high-income households, where only 60% stayed home. In low-income households 77% of people stayed.
Kop added that the biggest problem now was that of growing economic despair among those who live in what was the "Katyusha zone" in the North.
"The situation is very bad, we have to do more to help," he said. "This is hopefully a one-time event, but if it is not dealt with then the problems will only get worse."
Similar to a Latet survey carried out over the same period, the Taub center found that many residents from the North are facing growing economic despair. When asked whether the recent war has lowered their economic standing, 48% of those in the "bomb shelter areas" said it had, and in the "sealed room areas," 28%.
The survey also noted that 88% of the general population believes that the social welfare budget needs to be expanded, and 76% are against cutbacks in social benefits and expansion of the defense budget at the cost of helping the needy.
The Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel is an independent, non-profit and non-partisan research institute, established to address social policy issues that challenge Israeli society.