Press Release

Peace Index: 40% of Israelis Believe that Rifts Between Groups Will Widen

Monthly survey also finds that 84.5% of Israeli public defines mood as good or very good while 43% expresses trust in Prime Minister Netanyahu.

October 2, 2017 --- With a new year upon us, 84.5% of the Israeli public defines their personal mood as 'good' or 'very good' and a similar percentage thinks that 5778 will be at least as good as the previous year, if not better. However, about 40% of respondents think that rifts between various groups in Israeli society will widen, while the rate of pessimism exceeds the rate of optimism with regards to socio-economic issues. Also, the latest findings indicate that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has the trust of 43% of the general public, while Labor leader Avi Gabbay earns the confidence of 23.5% of respondents.

September's Peace Index survey examined Israeli citizen's views on both their personal situations and the national state of affairs, expectations for the new year, levels of trust in state institutions and prominent political figures and the sense of either solidarity or alienation that permeates between various groups in society.

The following are the main findings:

Personal Mood and State of the State: The overwhelming majority of the Jewish public noted its personal mood to be either 'good' or 'very good' (89%). Among Arab Israelis, the majority (70%) similarly assessed their personal mood. The general public's position on the overall state of the country is also positive, albeit less so than the personal status evaluation: 46.5% believe that the state of the state is 'pretty good' or 'very good', compared with 15% who said the situation is 'bad' or 'very bad'. The rest of the respondents noted that the situation was 'so-so'.

Expectations for the New Year: About half of the Israeli public believes that Israel's overall situation will not change over the next year (54% of Jews and 33% of Arabs). In all the areas examined by the Peace Index - military, security, political, diplomatic, socio-economic and differences of opinion among citizens - the majority believes that the situation in the coming year will remain unchanged. However, the balance between those who believe that the situation will improve and those who think the situation will deteriorate varies based on specific area. Particularly conspicuous and disconcerting is the level of tension between different societal groups. The percentage of respondents who think these tensions will worsen (39.5%) far exceeds the rate of those who believe the situation will improve (10%).

Trust in State Institutions and Prominent Political Figures:  The institution in which the Israeli public continues to put the most amount of trust in is the Israel Defense Forces (89%), followed in descending order by the President of Israel (70%), Supreme Court (54%) and Prime Minister (49%). At the bottom of the list is the rabbinate, with a mere 28% level of trust.

Meanwhile, Arab Israeli citizens' levels of trust were at great variance with those of Jewish Israelis. This group places the greatest amount of trust in the Supreme Court (60.5%), followed by the Shari'a Court/Canonical Court (50.5%), President of Israel (42%) and Israel Defense Forces (37%). At the bottom of this list is the Prime Minister, with only 16% of Arab Israelis placing their trust in Benjamin Netanyahu.

Relations between Groups: The findings of this month's Peace Index indicate that there is a clear hierarchy with regards to feelings of belonging in Israeli society. At the top of this ladder are voters of right-wing parties and secular Israelis. At the bottom of the list are the ultra-Orthodox and Arabs. Left-wing voters are somewhere in the middle.

The findings regarding the ultra-Orthodox are particularly interesting because of the gap between their self-perception and that of the Jewish Israeli public: 61% of the former believe that their group feels a part of Israeli society, while a mere 35% of the total Jewish Israeli sample concurs.

This month's survey was conducted by Prof. Ephraim Yaar of Tel Aviv University and Prof. Tamar Hermann of the Israel Democracy Institute from July 25 to September 27, 2017, among 600 respondents representing a representative national sample.

For the complete findings of this month's index: