'Corruption is as dangerous a threat as regional hostility'

According to Tisha Be'Av poll, only 24% of Israeli Jews believe nation is on the right path.

Hirchson worried 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Hirchson worried 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Internal corruption is seen as just as great a threat to Israel as the danger posed by Arab nations and Iran, according to a poll released Thursday which also found that 60 percent of Israeli Jews feel "the situation in Israel is headed in the wrong direction." Only 24% believe the nation is on the right path, according to the second annual Tisha Be'Av Indicator Poll released by Keevoon Research, Strategy & Communications. The general feeling of Israelis did improve somewhat from last year's survey, which had found that 74% felt Israel was headed in the wrong direction, compared to 16% who were upbeat about the situation. Sixteen percent of those surveyed didn't respond to the question in this year's survey, compared to 10% last year. Mitchell Barak, managing director of Keevoon, said, "There definitely was an improvement from last year's survey which does show that Israelis think things are getting better. This could be influenced by the possibility of national elections that many are talking about. In general, though, a country where 60% of its citizens feel it is headed in the wrong direction is not in a good situation." The fact that 24% ranked corruption and the Arab threat as equally acute represented a slight shift from last year's survey, when Israelis felt that corruption was the greatest threat with 30%, followed by the Arab countries with 27%. "Israel's leaders have been spending a lot of time speaking about the threat of Iran and about security issues like terror, but they seem to be missing a large part of the population. Many Israelis are concerned with social issues like poverty and corruption - two internal issues which are not being addressed by our leadership," said Barak. Men were more downbeat overall than women, 28% vs. 20%, while 39% of those 18-24 were optimistic, compared with 68% of those aged 25-34 who expressed dissatisfaction with the situation. Interestingly, 28% of those who define themselves as religious said Israel is headed in the right direction, slightly higher than the national average. None of the haredim polled said they think Israel is headed in the right direction, while a full 85% of them said they believe Israel is headed down the wrong path. Among soldiers, 43% expressed optimism. When broken down by income, 33% of Israelis in the highest income bracket were upbeat, while 72% of those with the lowest income were negative. Residents of the South and Jerusalem were most likely to be positive, with 31% and 30% respectively, while residents of the Sharon region and the North were overwhelmingly (70%) negative. By party affiliation, Likud voters were the most upbeat, with 35%, followed by Labor (28%), NRP-NU with 27% and Kadima with 25%, respectively. Social issues including poverty were cited by 22% as the nation's biggest threat, followed distantly by terror attacks and demographic issues with 12% and 7%, respectively, and 9% did not respond to the question. On the issues themselves, women were more likely than men to be concerned about the threat from Arab countries, 27% vs. 23%, while men were more likely to be concerned about social issues like poverty, 25% vs. 20%. Men are more likely to be concerned with demographic issues than women, by a margin of 11% to 3%. By party, Kadima voters felt the greatest threat facing Israel is from Arab countries with 37%, while corruption and social issues were next with 19% each. Labor voters felt the greatest threat was corruption at 30%, followed by social issues with 29%. Likud voters felt the greatest threat was from Arab countries and then corruption, with 30% and 27%, respectively. Shas voters were most concerned by terror attacks and Arab countries with 37% and 32%, respectively. A full 75% of Yisrael Beiteinu voters chose social issues, including poverty, as the greatest threat facing Israel. NRP-NU voters said that the greatest danger facing Israel was from corruption and then demographic issues, with 36% and 24%, respectively. The telephone survey was conducted on July 24 among a representative sample of 500 Jewish Israelis over the age of 18 and has a margin of error +/- 4.5%.