Press Release

IDF Report Card

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The Israelis Still believe that the IDF should be the People’s Army and Want Ultra-Orthodox People to Enlist

The monthly Peace Index of the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, finds Israeli society gives the IDF overall high grades in performance. However, the Israeli population does not give the army unlimited credit when it comes to all topics that are not connected to the army’s performance on the battlefield.

While Israelis give the army a particularly high grade when it comes to operations and ethics, the public is less satisfied with other fields such as the treatment of soldiers, budgetary behavior, and relations between men and women. The following table sums up the average grade in the various fields (on a scale of 1 to 5):


Jewish respondents only

Arab respondents only

Combat and operational fitness



Ethical behavior during operational activity



Obedience to the elected political leadership



Equality between men and women



The treatment of soldiers and handling of their problems



Budgetary behavior



Sixty-nine percent of the Jewish respondents and 24 percent of Arab respondents believe that the definition of the Israeli army as “the people’s army” is still accurate (as compared with only 24 percent of the Arab respondents). Most of the Jewish respondents (59 percent) do not support the abolition of the draft and the creation of the IDF as a professional army, while most of the Arab respondents (71 percent) are in favor of such transition. 69 percent of Jewish respondents and 42 percent of Arab respondents, support the draft for young ultra-Orthodox men. Segmentation by degree of religious observance of the Jewish sample shows that while a large majority of the secular (81 percent) and the traditional (73 percent) respondents support the draft for members of the ultra-Orthodox community, only half of the religious respondents (51 percent) and a minority of the ultra-Orthodox respondents (19.5 percent) support it.

The survey shows that in general, most Israelis are pleased with the performance of the current chief of staff and give him an average grade of 3.6 on a scale of 1 to 5 (3.78 among the Jewish respondents). The Defense Minister receives a slightly lower grade (3 among the sample as a whole, and 3.2 among the Jewish respondents).

Regarding the Prime Minister’s investigations: most Israelis (59.5 percent) do not agree with the statement that investigations of the prime minister by the police and the State Attorney’s Office are politically motivated, and that their true purpose is to remove him from office.

View the full survey

This month's survey was conducted by Professor Tamar Hermann of the Israel Democracy Institute and Professor Ephraim Yaar of Tel Aviv University via the Midgam Research Institute, between October 30 and 31, 2017. The survey included 600 respondents, who constitute a representative national sample of the adult population aged 18 and over.