Social justice protestors in Tel Aviv 370.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Some 89 percent of the population believes the government has not provided an
appropriate response to social problems in Israel and that social movements can
lead to change, according to a survey released on Sunday.
The poll –
which surveyed 482 men and women and was published by the NGO Shatil, which aims
at empowering citizens to lead social change in the country – also showed that
only 11% of respondents believe that solutions to social problems should be
provided by the state.
Sixty-eight percent said they believe that the
social justice movement that started in the summer of 2011 intensified the
public’s confidence in its ability to lead change, while only 8% think that it
has hampered the process.
Respondents were also asked what causes would
lead them to participate in protests.
While 57% said they would protest
against tax increases for the poor, 52% mentioned any harm caused to education
or the education budget.
Some 41% said that tycoons’ conduct would lead
them to demonstrate, while 40% said that measures that threatened Israel’s
democratic nature would urge them into the streets.
In addition, 58% of
respondents believe that social organizations contribute to promoting key issues
in Israel, while only 9% feel that such organizations do not contribute to
The data also indicated that 30% of Israelis actively
participated in demonstrations and less than 20% avoided such active or passive
Among those who participated in activities for social change,
most mentioned signing petitions. Thirty-two percent talked about addressing
decision-makers and the media directly, while 8% joined a political
Shatil, which is marking its 30th anniversary this year, will be
holding a conference entitled “People Change Reality” on Monday. The event will
focus on how to build a civil force that produces social change and impacts
“I think that any activity that reflects the interests of
citizens is a strength,” CEO of Shatil, Ronit Heyd, told The Jerusalem Post
“It’s about citizens being active, monitoring the decisions of
members of the Knesset, addressing decision-makers directly,” she
“This is what at the end of the day creates power instead of
leaving it in the hands of decision-makers who tend to see numbers and not
Heyd said that the recently passed state budget – which is “far
from what was promised to voters during election time” – obligates citizens to
monitor the government’s actions.
“We live in a fascinating period,” she
told the Post
“On the one hand, our reality becomes full of elements
threatening democracy like racism, religious issues and other thing. But on the
other hand, there is a sort of citizens’ awakening, which peaked in the summer
of 2011, and we see much more belief in our ability to influence life in the
country, which is touching and very encouraging.”
Heyd said that the goal
of Monday’s conference is to provide individuals as well as NGOs and other
organizations with new tools to help lead social change.
representatives from a number of other NGOs are also expected to attend the
event and present some of the social initiatives undertaken in their respective