Despite being at war, more Israelis are optimistic about the future of the country than earlier this year, yet most Israelis (64%) fear for their physical safety or that of their immediate family members.
The Viterbi Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research at the Israel Democracy Institute has so far conducted two flash surveys related to the war. The first was conducted on the dates of October 15-17, 2023, and the second survey was conducted on the dates of October 18-19, 2023.
Despite being at war, more Israelis are optimistic about the future of the country than earlier this year. The Jewish population has seen a significant increase in their rates of optimism—65%, up from 52% in June of this year. Among Arab Israelis, levels of optimism remain stable at around 36%. Levels of optimism among left-wing Israeli Jews are around 41% (compared to 21% in June), among Jews in the Center 58% (compared to 42% in June), and among right wing Jews 75% (compared to 65% in June).
In general, are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of Israel? (%, Jews)
Most Israelis (64%) fear for their physical safety or that of their immediate family members (63% of Jewish Israelis and 69% of Arab Israelis). Likewise, most Israelis (59%) are worried about their economic security (57% of Jewish Israelis and 69% of Arab Israelis).
Are you worried or not worried in the near future about the following? (%, total sample)
We assessed the degree of public trust in various institutions today, compared to the Israel Democracy Index survey conducted in June of this year.
We found that Jewish Israelis' trust in the IDF remains high - 87% of the Jewish interviewees indicated that they have confidence in the IDF (compared to 85.5% in June); only about a quarter of Arab Israelis (23%) indicated that they have confidence (compared to 21% in June).
Both the police and the media have seen a substantial increase in trust since June among Jewish Israelis, with 59% trusting the police (up from 35% in June). On the other hand, Arab Israeli trust in the police remains low and stable at 17%. We found that 39% of Jewish Israelis trust the media (up from 25% in June).
Trust in the government, on the other hand, has decreased - 20.5% of Jewish Israelis and 7.5% of Arab Israelis stated this time that they have trust in the government, while in June these numbers were 28% and 18%, respectively. When broken down by political orientation, the main decrease in trust is among right-wing Israelis (from 42% in June to 31% today), while trust among left-wing and center Israelis was and remains quite low. In fact, the trust in the government found in this measurement (total sample – 18%) is the lowest since we started measuring trust in institutions in 2003.
Trust in various institutions (%, Jews)
In the first of the two surveys we performed, we examined the public's assessment of the performance of various institutions up to that point. The following graph shows that the IDF combat forces and the police got the highest marks, while political elements got lower marks. Regarding each of these bodies, perception of their performance is higher among Jewish Israelis than among Arab Israelis.
Received a high grade for their performance during the war up to the time of this survey (October 15-17, 2023) (%, full sample)
The public is divided on whether the government has a plan of action for the next phases of the war, with slightly more Israelis believing it does not have a clear plan than those who believe it does.
Does the government currently have a clear plan of action for the next phases of the operation in Gaza? (%, entire sample)
These divisions fall in alignment with political orientation. Among the Jewish population, 71% on the left, 55% in the center, and on the right 33% believe the government does not currently have a clear plan of action.
We asked Israelis how they thought Israel should handle the northern front given increasing tensions with Hezbollah. The public is divided on this question as well, with a high proportion indicating they are not sure. The most common opinion among Jewish Israelis (48%) is that Israel should strike preemptively to avoid similar attacks from the north, while among Arab Israelis, the majority opinion is that every effort should be made to avoid opening another front (63%).
With which of the following two statements do you agree more? (%, Jews and Arabs)
Here, too, there are substantial differences based on political bloc among Jews: on the left, a large majority think that Israel should strive to avoid opening a second front against Hezbollah in the north (69%). About half of those who defined themselves as a center believed the same (49%). On the right, only a minority supports avoiding the opening of a northern front (24%), while the majority on the right hold the opinion that Israel should strike Hezbollah right now (61%).
As the diagram below shows, the health system and hospitals are perceived by the public as the most prepared, and the security forces (IDF, Shin Bet) as the least prepared. Arab Israelis' assessment of the level of preparedness was lower in all cases than that of Jewish Israelis.
"Good" or "excellent" levels of preparedness before the war broke out (%, full sample)
In terms instructions from the Home Front Command—Israel's institution responsible for preparing and instructing the civilian population in cases of emergency—a large majority of Jewish Israelis (76%) stated that their instructions during the war were clear. Only a minority of Arab Israelis, on the other hand, thought the instructions were clear (35%), perhaps stemming from issues of a language barrier.
Are instructions from the Home Front Command clear? (%, Jews and Arabs)
In both the survey that took place from the 15th to 17th of October and the 18th to 19th of October, we asked Israelis about both the conduct and the timing for the negotiations with Hamas for the release of kidnapped Israelis. In the newest data, we found a slight increase in the urgency to act for the release of those who have been kidnapped, and a decrease in the proportion of those who prefer to postpone negotiations until the fighting end, or rule out the possibility of such negotiations altogether.
In your opinion, should the State of Israel conduct negotiations with Hamas for the release of kidnapped Israelis in return for the release of Hamas prisoners from Israeli prisons? (%, total sample)
Jewish Israelis are divided on the question of whether the IDF should follow international law and rules of war. A large majority on the left (81%) and a majority in the center (59%) agree that the IDF should ensure it does not violate the international laws of war, compared to a minority of 36.5% on the right.
There is broad agreement among Arab Israelis, 83% of whom believe that the IDF should ensure their military operations do not violate international law and the laws of war.
48% of Jewish Israelis say that the suffering of Palestinian civilians should not be taken into consideration when planning the next phase of fighting in the Gaza Strip. 36% of Jewish Israelis said that it should “not so much” be taken into consideration. Most of the Arab Israelis (83%) believe that it should be taken into account.
A significant majority of Israelis (83%) assess a high level of resilience among the Israeli public since the outbreak of the war. There is a gap in this perception between Jewish (88.5%) and Arab (56%) Israelis, but it is nonetheless a majority in both population groups.
How would you assess the level of resilience of the Israeli public since the outbreak of the war?
The Viterbi Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research at the Israel Democracy Institute has so far conducted two flash surveys related to the war. The first was conducted on the dates of October 15-17, 2023, and the second survey was conducted on the dates of October 18-19, 2023. In the first survey 507 men and women were interviewed in the Hebrew language and 105 in the Arabic language, and in the second - 507 in Hebrew and 103 in Arabic, which constitute a national sample representative of the entire adult population in Israel aged 18 and over. The maximum sampling error for each of the samples is ± 4.04% at a 95% confidence level. The fieldwork was carried out by the Lazar Research Institute headed by Dr. Menachem Lazar.