The Israeli Voice Index for July 2020 found that 58% of Israelis identify with the protests against the government’s economic policies while 45% identify with the elements focused on personal opposition to Prime Minister Netanyahu.
* Only a little more than a third of the entire Israeli public are currently optimistic about the future of democratic governance in Israel, compared to a majority who are optimistic about Israel’s national security. That is, the domestic threat is perceived as graver than the external threat at this moment.
* A certain majority identifies with the protest against the government’s economic policy; only a minority (though considerable) identifies with the personal protest against Prime Minister Netanyahu. There is an overlap between the two foci of protest but it is not complete.
* Those identifying the most with the personal protest against Prime Minister Netanyahu are Blue and White voters, and Labor-Gesher-Meretz voters identify with it almost as much.
* A majority of the public thinks the police are cracking down too hard on the protesters, with a very large disparity between the left and the center on one hand and the right on the other: in the former two camps the large majority sees the police’s response as too severe, while on the right less than a third see it that way.
* Netanyahu gets good grades from a majority of the public for his conduct of Israel’s security policy, but low grades on running the government and on handling the coronavirus crisis, and an especially low grade on his ethical-personal behavior.
* Among voters for all the parties, the majority does not want new elections in the near future, and voters for the right-wing parties want it the least.
* Slightly more than a third report that the coronavirus crisis has affected their income and their workplace. A large majority, however, reports that it has affected their meetings with family and friends and their patterns of leisure activity.
* A majority of the Jews and a minority of the Arabs want the handling of the coronavirus crisis to be transferred to the Defense Ministry.
The National Mood
Only a little more than a third (38%) of Israelis are currently optimistic about the future of democratic governance in the country – compared to a majority of 59% who are optimistic about the future of national security. As the diagram shows, this month as well the decline in optimism on the democracy issue continued while a small increase in hope was registered on the national-security issue.
Optimistic about the future of Israeli democracy and about the future of national security, April 2019-July 2020 (%, entire sample)
A segmentation by political camps (Jews) reveals a huge gap regarding the future of democracy between the left and the center on one hand and the right on the other: only a small minority of the left and the center are optimistic compared to a majority (though not large) of the right. As for the future of Israel’s national security, optimists have a majority in all three camps, but it is fairly large on the right. In other words, the Israeli public feels relatively secure regarding external threats, but part of it fears the domestic threat to the nature of governance.
Optimistic about the future of Israeli democracy and about the future of national security (%, Jews, divided by political camps)
|Optimistic about the future of democratic governance in Israel
|Optimistic about the future of national security
A segmentation by location on the Haredi-secular spectrum (Jews) reveals that the most optimistic about the future of Israeli democracy is the religious group (69%), and after them the Haredim (51%), the religious traditional (45%), and the nonreligious traditional (40%), while the most pessimistic of all are the secular—only 26% of whom are optimistic about the future of democratic governance in Israel. As for national security, again the religious group is the most optimistic (79%) while the secular one is the least optimistic of everyone (56%).
Is the protest economic or political? We asked: “The current protests have two foci: opposition to the government’s economic policy and personal opposition to Prime Minister Netanyahu. To what extent do you identify with each of these?” Out of the entire sample, 58% identified with the economic focus of the protest compared to 45% who identified with the focus of personal opposition to Netanyahu.. That is, the economic issue is somewhat more important to the public than the political-personal issue, but the gap is not very large. Do those who identify with the economic protest also identify with the personal protest against Netanyahu and vice versa, or are these different groups of people? The data reveal a certain overlap but not a complete one. Among those who identify with the personal protest against Netanyahu, 85% also identify with the economic protest. But among those who identify with the economic protest, only 66% also identify with the personal protest against Netanyahu.
A segmentation of the Jewish interviewees’ responses by political camp shows – as expected – that the opposition to the government’s policy and to Netanyahu personally is highest on the left and lowest on the right. On the left, incidentally, the opposition to Netanyahu personally is slightly higher than the opposition to the government’s economic policy. In the center the degree of identification with the two foci of protest is almost the same, while on the right a small majority identifies with the economic protest but only about a quarter identifies with the personal protest against Netanyahu.
Identifying with each of the foci of protest (%, Jews)
A segmentation of the identification with the personal opposition to Prime Minister Netanyahu by voting in the latest Knesset elections reveals that at the top are Blue and White voters and at the bottom are Likud and Yamina voters.
Identifying with the personal protest against Prime Minister Netanyahu (%,entire sample)
The Functioning of the Police
The prevailing opinion in the entire public (46.5%) is that the police are cracking down too hard on the protesters. About a fourth thinks they are behaving in a manner appropriate to the circumstances while 23% believe they are going too easy on the protesters.
How would you describe the police’s conduct toward the protesters? (%, entire sample)
A segmentation by political camps (Jews) presents – as expected – a polar picture: on the left 83% think the police are cracking down too hard on the protesters, in the center 72% think so, while on the right only 30% take that view (31% of them say the police are using appropriate force while 34% believe they are being too lenient).
The Latest Grades for Netanyahu – at the Height of the Pandemic
About half a year since the outbreak of the pandemic and two months after the establishment of the government, we asked for the public’s assessment of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s functioning in four domains: conducting security policy, running the government, handling the coronavirus crisis, and ethical-personal behavior.
Netanyahu gets the highest assessment for his conduct of Israel’s security policy: a little more than half of the interviewees (56%) gave him a positive grade for it. However, in the three other domains we asked about, Netanyahu garners low assessments: a little less than half of the interviewees (45%) answered that his functioning in handling the coronavirus crisis and also in running the government was “not good” to “poor.” Netanyahu got the lowest grade for his ethical-personal behavior; more than half of the Israeli public gave him a negative grade in this domain.
Grades for Prime Minister Netanyahu for his functioning in the four domains, on a scale from 1=poor to 5=excellent (%, entire sample)
As noted, Netanyahu obtained the highest grade for conducting security policy. Among the Jewish interviewees 59% gave him a grade of good to excellent here, but among the Arab interviewees only 39% saw it that way. A segmentation of the Jewish sample by political camps reveals that 55% of the left, 39% of the center, and 73% of the right gave him high grades in this domain.
In the domain of running the government, less than a third of the entire sample gave Netanyahu high grades, and here there is almost no difference between Jews and Arabs. A segmentation by voting in the latest Knesset elections reveals that, whereas a little more than half of the Likud and Haredi-party voters gave Netanyahu a grade of good or excellent, voters for the rest of the parties assigned him low grades in this regard. Particularly negative is the grade he received here from Blue and White voters.
A grade of good or excellent for Prime Minister Netanyahu for his running of the government (%, entire sample)
In the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, a majority of the interviewees expressed high trust in Netanyahu’s handling of the crisis. Today, however, when the second wave has already broken out, only a minority gives him a grade of good or excellent in this domain (Jews: 27%, Arabs: 18%).
The gaps between the three political camps (Jews) are considerable, even though in all three only a minority gives Netanyahu a high assessment: slightly less than a third of those who define themselves as right-wing give Netanyahu high grades for his handling of the coronavirus crisis, compared to 16.5% in the center and only 2% on the left.
A grade of good or excellent for Prime Minister Netanyahu for his functioning in handling the coronavirus crisis (%, Jews, by political camp)
A grade of good or excellent for Prime Minister Netanyahu for his functioning in handling the coronavirus crisis (%, Jews, by political camp)
As noted, the domain in which Prime Minister Netanyahu was given an especially low assessment is that of ethical-personal behavior. Among both the Jewish and Arab interviewees, the rate of those who gave him a grade of good or excellent on this issue was very low (27% and 18% respectively).
A segmentation by voting in the latest Knesset elections reveals that only among voters for the two Haredi parties, Shas and Torah Judaism, did more than half—that is, a majority—of the interviewees give a grade of good or excellent to Netanyahu’s ethical-personal behavior. Among voters for his own party, Likud, only 49% said his ethical behavior was good or excellent. Voters for the rest of the parties gave Netanyahu much lower assessments. Only a fourth of Joint List voters said his ethical behavior was good or excellent. Surprisingly (or not), an even lower rate of voters for the two right-wing parties Yamina and Yisrael Beiteinu assigned him high grades in this domain (22% and 18% respectively). Among voters for the center and left parties, only 2%-3% gave the prime minister a grade of good or excellent for his ethical-personal behavior.
Grades for Prime Minister Netanyahu for his ethical-personal behavior (%, entire sample)
Much is being said in the media about the wrangling within the coalition possibly leading to an announcement of new elections in the foreseeable future. We asked: “Do you support or oppose dismantling the current government and going to new elections at the end of 2020?” Among the Jewish voters only 25% favored holding new elections soon, compared to 43% of the Arabs. A segmentation of the entire sample by voting in the latest Knesset elections shows that there is no majority for new elections among the voters for any party, but generally among the right-wing parties the minority that supports this is smaller than among the left-wing parties.
Supporting the holding of Knesset elections at the end of 2020 (%, entire sample, divided by voting in the elections)
Has the Coronavirus Changed Our Lives?
We wanted to know to what extent Israelis’ daily routine has been changed by the coronavirus crisis. We asked: “In each of the following domains, to what extent has your daily routine changed or not changed because of the coronavirus pandemic: your income, the place from which you work, meetings with friends and family, going out for leisure activities (restaurants, seashore, sports, etc.).” The disparities between these domains are large. While 38% answered that as a result of the coronavirus their income and their workplace had changed to a great extent, a large majority gave that response regarding meetings with family and friends (68%), and an even larger majority said the crisis had changed their leisure patterns (74%).
The coronavirus has changed daily life to a great or a very great extent (%, entire sample)
An especially interesting finding concerns the much larger effect of the crisis on the young age groups in the domains of income and workplace. With regard to meetings with family and friends, the strongest effect—as could be expected—is on the older age groups, while in the domain of leisure the differences are relatively small. Almost everyone changed their leisure patterns to a similar extent.
The daily routine has changed to a great or very great extent (%, entire sample)
|The place from which I work
|Meetings with family and friends
|Up to age 30
|66 and over
Transferring Responsibility for Handling the Crisis to the Defense Ministry
A majority of the Jewish interviewees (63%) expressed support for transferring the handling of the coronavirus crisis to the Defense Ministry and the IDF. Less than a third (32%) supported this, however, among the Arab interviewees.
Supporting transferring the handling of the coronavirus crisis to the Defense Ministry (%, Jews and Arabs)
An especially interesting finding is that those who identified themselves as left-wing support such a measure slightly more than the other two camps do: left—67%, center—65%, right—62%. Possibly the explanation is that there is greater interest on the left in removing the handling of the issue from the Health Ministry, which is headed by a Likud minister.
The Israeli Voice Index for July 2020 was prepared by the Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research of the Israel Democracy Institute. In the survey, which was conducted on the internet and by telephone (supplements of groups that are not sufficiently represented on the network) during July 27-29, 2020, 607 men and women were interviewed in Hebrew and 150 in Arabic, constituting a representative national sample of the entire adult population of Israel aged 18 and older. The maximum sampling error for the entire sample was 3.7%± at a confidence level of 95%. The fieldwork was done by the Midgam Institute. For the full data file see: Data Israel.