The majority of the Israeli public still wants to talk to and listen to people from opposite sides of the political spectrum, according to a survey conducted by the "Gesher" organization ahead of Tisha Be'av, by the "Lazar Researches" survey company led by Dr. Menachem Lazar.
On the other hand, most Israelis give the government a failing grade for the way it is handling the social crisis and maintaining national unity.
According to the survey results, the government received a score of 3.7. There is a massive difference reflected between voters of the coalition and the opposition. While coalition voters give the government a relatively moderate score of 5.7, opposition voters give it a very low score – 1.2.
Even when segmented by religious affiliation, the survey shows an immense gap. The haredi (ultra-orthodox) public is satisfied with the government's handling of the situation and gives it a score of 6.7. The secular public, however, is extremely dissatisfied and gives the government a score of 2.7 for their handling of the Israeli nation's social crisis.
Who will resolve the Israeli nation's political crisis?
Moreover, 36% of the Israeli public believes politicians can primarily resolve the current crisis in Israeli society. Another 23% believe that only new elections will solve the crisis, and an additional 18% believe that the crisis will be solved by citizens.
Between opposition voters, the trend differs, with 36% of them believing there's no way to resolve the current crisis, and the only solution is new elections.
In contrast, 22% of coalition voters, 28% of religious voters, and 25% of Haredi voters give more weight to the power of the citizens in the solution.
Despite the divisions, 40% of the Israeli public remains optimistic and believes the current crisis will end with a compromise between the parties. Coalition voters are more optimistic, with 45% believing the crisis will end with a compromise, compared to 39% of opposition voters who believe so.
Approximately 25% of opposition voters believe a deterioration in the security situation will be the factor that ends the crisis. Evidence of the deep divide between the sides can be seen in the fact that more people (13%) believe the social crisis will end in a disaster during the protests than those (11%) who believe the current crisis will end with one side conceding.
Are Israelis open to discussions with members of opposing political parties and bridging the social divide?
In response to the question, "Do you have the motivation to continue and speak with the other side of the political landscape?", 54% of survey respondents replied that they would always be happy to talk to people from the other side of the political map. This sentiment is shared equally among coalition and opposition voters.
On the other hand, 28% of the public replied that, unfortunately, they can no longer speak to people from the other side, and 18% are willing to talk on certain conditions – either the cessation of protests or an end to legislation.
"The current survey indicates that the general public sees great importance in Israel's national unity, while the Israeli government has neglected this issue. All of this leads to one of the biggest social divides we've ever known", said the CEO of "Gesher" Ilan Geal Dor.
"We see very worrying data in the survey, like the fact that a quarter of the people are not interested in speaking with people from the other side of the political spectrum. But on the other hand, we also see many positive sides, such as the fact that most of the public still believes the current crisis will end in a compromise and that most of the public still wants to talk and listen to the other side."