Yair Lapid is Perceived as the “Most Influential” Figure in the New Government

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26% of Israelis think that Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid is the “most influential” figure in the government; in second place with 19% was Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and in third with 11% was Mansour Abbas.

Yair Lapid | Flash 90

Main Findings

* This month saw an increase in the rates of the optimists both regarding the future of democratic governance in Israel and the future of national security. The left and the center (Jews) are more optimistic in both areas than those who defined themselves as right-wing.

* The rate of those who think the new government’s life expectancy is at least a year is identical to the rate of those who don’t think it will last out the year. The voters for most of the coalition parties are more optimistic on this issue than the voters for most of the opposition parties.

* Yair Lapid is perceived by the voters for most of the parties as the “most influential” figure in the new government. After him come Naftali Bennett and, in third place, Mansour Abbas.

* The left and the center expect that the change of government will cause an improvement in Israel’s international status, while a majority of the right thinks it will deteriorate.

* The majority says Israel cannot trust US president Biden’s promise to Israeli president Reuven Rivlin that during Biden’s tenure Iran will not have nuclear weapons.

* The majority expects that Netanyahu and his family will leave the official prime minister’s residence on Balfour Street on the date that was agreed.

* A large majority of the public sees Netanyahu’s demand that the Likud Party cover the costs of his private residence in Jerusalem as unjustified.

* The public’s fears of being infected with Covid-19 have increased considerably.

* A small majority trusts the new government to act effectively if there is a serious outbreak of Covid-19.

* A very small percentage of the interviewees reported an intention to go abroad this summer, though the rate of young people who are planning to do so much exceeds the rate among the older age groups.

The National Mood

Apparently against the backdrop of the emergence of the new government and the beginning of its work, alongside the quiet in the south, this month saw a clear increase in the rates of the optimists both regarding the future of democratic governance in Israel and the future of national security. Half and more are currently optimistic on both those issues. The sharpest increase in optimism concerned democratic governance, with the rate of the optimists reaching second place since the measurements began.

Optimistic about the future of Israeli democracy and about the future of national security, April 2019─June 2021 (%, entire sample)

At the same time, a segmentation of the responses by the Jews-Arabs variable shows that among the Arab interviewees there is still a minority of optimists regarding the future of democratic governance and the future of national security, though this minority is of considerable size.

Optimistic about the future of Israeli democracy and about the future of national security, June 2021 (%, Jewish sample and Arab sample)

A segmentation by political camps (Jewish sample) reveals higher levels of optimism on the left and in the center than on the right. Those who located themselves in the center are even more optimistic on the two issues than those on the left.

% Left Center Right
Optimistic about the future of democratic governance 63 64 46.5
Optimistic about the future of national security 63 69 51

The New Government

The New Government’s Life Expectancy

The issue of the new government’s life expectancy is a subject of much discussion. We asked: “In your opinion, what are the chances that the new government will last at least a year?” It turns out that on this issue the public is divided: identical rates see the chances as high and as low.

What are the chances that the new government will last at least a year? (%, entire sample)

We did not find a substantial difference between the Jewish and Arab interviewees’ assessment of the new government’s life expectancy: 46.5% of the Jews believe the government will last at least a year and 45% of the Arabs.

We also segmented the answers to this question by voting in the latest Knesset elections, and we found that a majority of the voters for the coalition parties (except for Yamina and Ra’am) see the new government’s life expectancy as more than a year. A majority of the voters for the opposition parties (except for the Joint List) view its life expectancy as less than a year. Interestingly, the voters for the two coalition parties that “deviated” from their bloc, Yamina and Ra’am, are relatively pessimistic about the government’s future, perhaps because they think it is not ideologically solid or homogeneous enough.

Expect the government to survive for at least a year, by voting in the latest Knesset elections (%, entire sample)

The “Most Influential” Figure in the Government

We asked the interviewees whom among the heads of the coalition parties they view as the “most influential” figure in the government. Despite the high rate of those responding that they don’t know or that no one in the new government answers to the description as “strong,” Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid was seen as the “most influential” figure by the highest rate of the interviewees; in second place for the entire public was Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. At the bottom of the list are Meirav Michaeli and Nitzan Horowitz. A very interesting finding is Mansour Abbas’s location in third place, that is, above Liberman, Saar, and Gantz, whose party is the second largest in the coalition.

In your opinion, who is currently the “most influential” figure in the government? (%, entire sample)

Among the voters for six parties, Lapid is perceived as the “most influential” figure (Labor 49%, Meretz 47%, Blue and White and Yesh Atid 43%, Joint List 31%, Ra’am 19%). Mansour Abbas is perceived as the “most influential” figure by the voters for four parties (Religious Zionism 27%, Likud 17%, Shas and Torah Judaism 23%), Naftali Bennett is seen that way among two parties (Yamina 34%, New Hope 21%), and Avigdor Liberman among the voters for one party – Yisrael Beiteinu (32.5%).

The New Government and Israel’s International Status

The public as a whole is divided on the question of whether the existence of the new government will affect Israel’s international status, with a slight tendency to believe that its status will see an improvement (an especially high rate chose the “Don’t know” option). Interestingly, the Arabs’ assessment is more optimistic than that of the Jews: among the Arab interviewees 45.5% think Israel’s international status will improve in light of the change of government compared to only 40% of the Jews.

In light of the change of government, will Israel’s international status improve or deteriorate? (%, entire sample)

A segmentation of the responses to this question by political camps (Jews) reveals a very large gap between, on the one hand, the left and the center, and, on the other, the right. While, on the left, 73% anticipate an improvement, and in the center 60%, on the right only 25% think that will be the case, with the majority (52%) saying Israel’s international status will deteriorate.

President Biden’s promise that Iran will not have nuclear weapons

During President Rivlin’s recent visit to Washington, President Biden promised him that as long as he is serving as president, he will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. We wanted to know whether, in the opinion of the Israeli public, this is a promise Israel can rely on. It turns out the majority does not think so.

During President Rivlin’s visit to Washington, US president Biden promised him that as long as he is serving, he will not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons. In your opinion, can or cannot Israel rely on that promise? (%, entire sample)

Whereas, among the Jews, only 36% think President Biden’s promise can be trusted, among the Arabs a majority sees it as credible (55%). The gaps on this issue between the political camps (Jews) are large: while, on the left, a majority (61%) believes Israel can take President Biden at his word, in the center about half (52%) think so, while on the right only a minority (24.5%) considers that Israel can trust the US president’s promise on this matter.

Netanyahu as Opposition Leader

Leaving the Official Residence

With many apprehensive that former prime minister Netanyahu and his family will delay leaving the official residence on Balfour Street, we asked: “In your opinion, what are the chances that the Netanyahu family will leave the prime minister’s residence on Balfour Street, as agreed to, in about another week?” In the sample as a whole, a small majority views the chances that they will leave as high (51%), while about one-third see the chances of their leaving on the date that was set as low. We segmented the responses by voting in the most recent Knesset elections. As the next diagram shows, a majority of the voters for the right-wing and Haredi parties expect Netanyahu and his family to honor the agreement on the departure date, while a majority of the voters for the left-wing and centrist parties rate the chances of their upholding the agreement as low.

See high chances that the Netanyahu family will leave the official residence on the date that was set, by voting (%, entire sample)

Covering Netanyahu’s Expenses as Opposition Chief

We asked: “In your opinion, is Netanyahu’s demand that the Likud Party, which he heads, fund the expenses of his private residence in Jerusalem justified or not justified?” About three-fourths of all the interviewees in the survey answered that this demand is not justified. A segmentation of the responses by voting in the elections shows that almost without exception, the interviewees’ position is that this is an unjustified demand.

Think it is not justified that the Likud Party should fund the expenses of Netanyahu’s private residence in Jerusalem, by voting (%)

Covid-19

Fear of Infection

Since Covid-19 came to Israel, we have been measuring the public’s degree of fear about getting infected by the disease. The greatest fear was measured in the first wave in March 2020 (75%), and after it in the second and third waves in September and December 2020 (72% and 62% respectively). The lowest degree of fear in the whole period was measured last March (28%), while today, with the emergence of the Delta variant, a certain renewed increase of fear is evident (42%).

Fear that they or someone in their family will be infected by Covid-19 (%, entire sample)

A segmentation of the degree of fear by location on the Haredi-secular spectrum (Jews) revealed that among the Haredim the degree of fear is the lowest (20.5%). No disparities in the degree of fear of infection were found between Jews and Arabs.

How Well Will the New Government Deal with Covid-19?

A majority, not large (54%), of the Israeli public trusts the new government to act effectively if there is a serious outbreak of Covid-19 in the foreseeable future. A segmentation of the responses by voting in the latest Knesset elections reveals that the voters for the coalition parties trust the government and the voters for the opposition parties do not. The exceptions in this picture are the voters for Yamina and for the Joint List, who are divided on how much they trust the government.

Trust the new government to act effectively if there is a serious outbreak of Covid-19 in the foreseeable future (%, entire sample)

Flying Abroad?

According to data of the Central Bureau of Statistics, more than a quarter of Israelis (2.4 million) flew abroad in July-August 2019. In those months in the summer of 2020, fewer than 100,000 Israelis flew abroad. And what can be expected for the current summer? It appears that there will be an increase compared to last year, but still the numbers will evidently be very far from the pre-Covid-19 totals. Seven percent are planning to fly abroad this summer and another 14% have made such plans but are still uncertain; a similar percentage have made such plans and canceled them; and about two-thirds did not plan to fly abroad this year at all.

Lately we see a rise in Covid-19 infections in Israel and the world. Are you planning to fly abroad for a vacation this summer? (%, entire sample)

In the Jewish public, considerable disparities were found between the different age groups regarding plans to fly abroad this summer: about half of the young people (ages 18-24) said they would be flying abroad this summer or were still considering it, compared to only 5% of elderly people (age 65 and over).

In the Jewish public, considerable disparities were found between the different age groups regarding plans to fly abroad this summer: about half of the young people (ages 18-24) said they would be flying abroad this summer or were still considering it, compared to only 5% of elderly people (age 65 and over).

Lately we see a rise in Covid-19 infections in Israel and the world. Are you planning to fly abroad for a vacation this summer? (%, Jews, by age)

The Israeli Voice Index for June 2021 was prepared by the Viterbi 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) from July 1 to July 4, 2021, 606 men and women were interviewed in Hebrew and 155 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 3.59%± at a confidence level of 95%. The fieldwork was done by the Midgam Institute. For the full data file see: Data Israel