One year since the formation of the Bennett-Lapid government: assessment of government’s performance tied to parties Israelis voted for.
* This month saw a decline in the public’s optimism regarding both the future of democratic rule in Israel and the future of Israel’s national security.
* End-of-year report card for the government: The assessments given by voters for coalition parties and voters for opposition parties regarding the changes in Israel’s situation in various areas over the past year are radically different from one another. However, while the evaluations given by coalition party voters differentiate between the government’s performance in different areas, those of voters for opposition parties are almost uniform in their negativity across all categories surveyed.
* Less than half of respondents expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the Knesset members in the party for which they voted at the last elections. Satisfaction levels were higher among Jewish respondents than among Arab respondents.
* Just over half of the respondents are sure or think that, if new elections were held today, they would vote for the same party they voted for at the last elections.
* If the current coalition were to lose its majority, the most preferred option is to hold new elections (just over one-third of respondents), followed in second place by the option of forming a new coalition without holding elections (just under one-third).
* A huge majority of Arab respondents support adding a clause on equality to the Nation-State Law, compared with only a minority of Jews. The share of Jewish respondents in favor is lower this year than last year.
* A large majority of both Jews and Arabs support providing paid paternity leave for fathers, to be funded by the state. However, a very large share of those in favor also support removing the proposed restrictions on this leave (particularly the condition that the mother must return to work first).
The National Mood
This month’s findings regarding both the future of democratic rule in Israel and the future of Israel’s national security indicate a subdued national mood, to say the least. In fact, the share of optimists in both categories is one of the lowest we have found since beginning our measurements three years ago. Only one-third of Jewish respondents and less than one-quarter of Arab respondents are optimistic about the future of Israeli democracy. Less than 40% of Jews, and around half this proportion of Arabs, are optimistic about the future of Israel’s national security. Indeed, over the last year we have seen an interesting phenomenon: Beforehand, the share of optimists about the country’s security future was always larger than the share of optimists about the future of its democracy, but the last 12 months have brought a decline in optimism about national security, effectively bringing it into line with the lower level of optimism about the future of democratic rule.
Optimistic about the future of Israeli democracy and about the future of national security, April 2019–May 2022 (total sample; %)
In the Jewish sample, the share of optimists in both categories is much lower among those who define themselves as being on the Right, compared with those who define themselves as in the Center or on the Left, though the picture is hardly rosy in these two camps, either. In all political camps, there is slightly less optimism about the future of democratic rule than about the future of national security.
Optimistic about the future of national security, by political orientation (Jewish sample; %)
End-of-Year Report Card for the Current Government
We asked respondents to evaluate Israel’s situation today in various areas, compared with the period before the formation of the current government. The factor that incontrovertibly affects responses to this question was whether the respondent voted for coalition or opposition parties at the last elections. Much larger proportions of voters for coalition parties than of voters for opposition parties consider there to have been improvements in these various areas, though even among the former group, the assessments were only partially complimentary.
One interesting finding was that among voters for opposition parties, there was almost no difference between the different areas surveyed, with highly negative assessments given in each, while we found larger differences between areas among coalition party voters.
Israel’s situation in various areas, by voters for coalition and opposition parties (total sample; %)
The economy: Among voters for coalition parties, there was a slight tendency toward positive assessments, and among opposition party voters, a clear tendency toward negative assessments.
Defense: Here, too, voters for coalition parties lean slightly more toward positive assessments, though they are almost equally split between three opinions – that the situation now is better than it was, worse than it was, or the same as it was. Among opposition voters, assessments clearly tend to the negative.
Tensions between different groups in Israeli society: The assessments given by voters for coalition parties regarding tensions between different groups in Israeli society tend clearly to be negative, though less than the assessments given by opposition party voters.
Foreign affairs (Israel’s standing in the world): In this category, coalition party voters hold that there has been an improvement over the last year, while again, opposition party voters think there has been a deterioration.
Lack of corruption among the country’s leaders: In this area, most voters for coalition parties see an improvement over the last year. Opposition party voters again think that the situation is worse than a year ago, though to a lesser extent than in the other categories surveyed.
The situation of Arab citizens of Israel: In this area as well, the majority of coalition party voters consider the situation today to be better than it was a year ago. Presumably, they see this as a positive development. Among voters for opposition parties, a large proportion also hold that there has been an improvement in the situation of Arab citizens of Israel, though given their views on other subjects, it is possible that they see this improvement in a negative light—as a sign of too much Arab influence on the government.
To summarize, then, a large majority of voters for opposition parties believe that Israel’s situation has worsened in all the areas surveyed, relative to the period before the formation of the current government. By contrast, large shares of voters for coalition parties (and a majority regarding lack of corruption among Israel’s leaders and the situation of Arab citizens of Israel) hold that there has been an improvement in all areas, with the exception of tensions between different groups in Israeli society, a category in which they see a deterioration.
Satisfaction with Knesset Members
We asked respondents about their satisfaction with the conduct of Knesset members representing the party for which they voted at the last elections. Less than half (46%) of all respondents said that they are very or quite satisfied (48% of Jews and 33% of Arabs). At the bottom of the league in terms of satisfaction with its elected representatives is Yamina, and at the top, Yesh Atid.
How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the conduct of the MKs of the party for which you voted at the last elections? Very or quite satisfied, by voting pattern at the last elections (total sample; %)
If Elections Were Held Today…
We asked: “If new Knesset elections were held today, would you vote for the same party you voted for at the last elections?” Less than a third of respondents are sure that they would vote for the same party, and another quarter think they would (for a total of 57.5%). On the other hand, 20% think that they would not vote for the same party, while 12% said they don’t know, and around 10% reported either that they did not vote at the last elections or that they don’t think they will vote at the next elections.
It was noticeable that coalition voters are more dissatisfied with the performance of their party than voters for opposition parties: On average, only 55% of voters for parties currently in the coalition think or are sure that they would vote for the same party, compared with 80% of voters for opposition parties.
A breakdown by voting pattern at the last elections reveals that a large majority of voters for United Torah Judaism, Religious Zionism, Likud, and Shas say that they would vote for those same parties again today. Relative high shares were also found among voters for Ra’am and Yesh Atid. On the other hand, less than half of Yisrael Beytenu voters are sure or think that they would vote for that party if elections were held today, while the figures are even lower among voters for Yamina and New Hope.
If new Knesset elections were held today, would you vote for the same party you voted for at the last elections? Definitely would or think I would, by voting pattern at the last elections (total sample; %)
What is the Preferred Political Solution in the Current Situation?
The respondents were divided in their opinions regarding preferred options if the current coalition were to lose its majority in the Knesset. The most strongly preferred option is to hold new elections (37.5%, compared with 35% last month), followed in second place by forming a new coalition without holding elections (31%, similar to last month), and in third place, continuing with the current government as a minority government (27%, compared with 29% a month ago).
If the government loses its Knesset majority, which of the following possibilities do you think would be preferable? (total sample; %)
A breakdown by voting pattern at the last elections found that around half of voters for coalition parties would prefer a minority government, while more than half of voters for opposition parties would prefer holding new elections. A similar share of both coalition and opposition voters (around a third) would opt for a new coalition being formed without elections, presumably based on the assumption that the party they voted for might become a member of that coalition.
If the government loses its Knesset majority, which of the following possibilities do you think would be preferable? Voters for coalition and opposition parties (total sample; %)
Amending the Nation-State Law
We examined the respondents’ degree of agreement or disagreement with the proposal to amend the Nation-State Law, so that it includes the principle of full equality for the state’s non-Jewish citizens. Among Jews, only slightly more than a third support such an amendment to the Nation-State Law, whereas an overwhelming majority (90%) of Arabs do so. Compared with the measurement we made just over a year ago, there has been a considerable decline in the share of Jews who hold that the Nation-State Law should be changed, versus a slight increase in the equivalent share among Arabs, seemingly reflecting the deterioration in relations between the two groups in recent times.
Agree that the Nation-State Law should be amended so that it includes the principle of full equality for non-Jewish citizens of the state (Jewish sample and Arab sample; %)
Breaking down the data by voting pattern and religiosity (Jews), a majority of voters for coalition partners support such a change to the Nation-State Law (59%), while a large majority of opposition party voters oppose it (65.5%). The greatest opposition to the proposed amendment was found among Haredim (81%) and national religious respondents (79%).
Agree or disagree that the Nation-State Law should be amended so that it includes the principle of full equality for non-Jewish citizens of the state (%)
|Voting pattern at last elections||Coalition||59||29.5|
It was recently announced that, as part of next year’s state budget, the government is planning a reform that would provide two weeks’ paid paternity leave for fathers, on the following condition: that it cannot be taken at the same time as the mother is on maternity leave; that the mother must return to paid work; and that the father must take this leave within six months after the birth.
Overall, we found strong support among our respondents for giving fathers the option to take paternity leave (84.5%). Only 8% are opposed, and no considerable differences were found on this issue between Jews (85% in favor) and Arabs (83%). Around one-quarter (27%) support the government’s proposal as it stands, while another 57% support it but would like changes to be made: Some 30% think that paternity leave should not be made conditional on the mother going back to work; 16% would like fathers to be able to take leave at the same time as the mother; and a further 11% would like the paternity leave to be longer.
Opinions regarding the government proposal for paid paternity leave (total sample; %)
In the Jewish sample, supporters of paid paternity leave were found to be in the majority in all groups examined, though support is strongest among secular respondents (92%), followed by traditional respondents (religious, 84%; non-religious, 80%), and national religious respondents. Support was lowest among the Haredim (70%).
In the Jewish sample, there is slightly greater support for paid maternity leave among women than among men (88% compared with 82%, respectively). Women are also more in favor of removing the various conditions on paternity leave related to the mother.
A breakdown of the Jewish public by age shows that support is strongest among the middle-aged, with 90% of those aged 35–54 in favor, and 89.5% of those aged 45–54. By contrast, though there is majority support for paternity leave in all age groups, these majorities are smallest among the youngest respondents (aged up to 24) and the oldest (65+), at 75% and 82%, respectively.
The May 2022 Israeli Voice Index was prepared by the Viterbi Family Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research at the Israel Democracy Institute. The survey was conducted via the internet and by telephone (to include groups that are under-represented on the internet) between May 23 and May 25, 2022, with 601 men and women interviewed in Hebrew and 159 in Arabic, constituting a nationally representative sample of the adult population in Israel aged 18 and over. The maximum sampling error was ±3.59% at a confidence level of 95%. Field work was carried out by Midgam Research and Consulting Ltd. The full data file can be found at: Data Israel.