Israel Democracy Institute's First-Ever Economic Survey

Findings show Israelis largely satisfied with their economic situations; level of education closely tied to level of economic anxiety

As the Israel Democracy Institute's annual Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society kicks off today in Jerusalem, IDI's Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research sheds new light on Israeli socioeconomic discourse.

As the Israel Democracy Institute's annual Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society kicks off today in Jerusalem, IDI's Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research sheds new light on Israeli socioeconomic discourse:

  • What does the public think about the current economic situation and its future?
  • Does the public understand what it is talking about when there is a debate about socialism, capitalism and the welfare state?
  • Does the majority of the country want to live in a country with a social-democratic economy (similar to the Scandinavian model) or does it prefer a pure capitalist model (more similar to the American model)?

This is the first-ever such poll conducted by IDI.
Some of the findings will be discussed at the Hurvitz conference.

Some interesting statistics:

  • Some 60% of the public is satisfied or very satisfied by its economic situation – and they think that situation will continue into the future.
  • In response to the question, "Would you prefer living in a country where taxes are higher but citizens receive many high-quality services for free from the state (the "Scandinavian model"), or a country where taxes are relatively low but citizens receive only a few basic services (the "American model"), 60% chose the Scandinavian model.
  • However, when people were asked if they felt that Israelis were taxes fairly, 62% reported that Israeli taxes are too high.

Other findings:
Those who have steady jobs, naturally feel greater economic security. Nonetheless, these same people reported worrying about their children; 60% said they are worried or very worried they will not be able to help support their children.

A significant amount of the public (though not the majority) said they are fearful or anxious about their economic situation and that they could fall into an economic situation from which they won't be able to recover.

The survey also found that Israelis equate owning an apartment and having an education with economic security. Those who reported not yet owning an apartment, said they have essentially given up the hope of buying one.

And how corrupt is Israel? Most of the public thinks Israeli leadership is very corrupt.

"In Israel, many people feel better about their economic situations than their counterparts/fellowmen in America or Europe – there is a majority that feels economically quite secure. However, there is about 20-25% of the population who have deep economic fears," explains Prof. Tamar Hermann, academic director of IDI’s Guttman Center. "This group is not large enough to tip the political scales. But it is easy to imagine that if just 10% of that group feels enough fear and depression to take action, this is some 200,000 people who could go and protest, which could have significant economic and political effect."

"If there is one factor that has a strong empirical connection with lower anxiety over one’s economic situation, it is level of education," explains IDI senior research fellow Yotam Margalit. "In particular, those with a college education were less fearful of their financial prospects than those without one, even when accounting for other related factors such as income. "This finding emphasizes the importance of government investment in improving access and quality of education to all, so as to enhance people’s skills and employability. The key must be to improve workers' employment prospects in the continuously evolving labor market."

View full survey>>

Field work was conducted by the Midgam Research Institute between March 29 and April 3, 2016. The sample consisted of 600 interviewees (500 Jewish and 100 Arab respondents). The survey was conducted in Hebrew, Arabic, and Russian. Results were weighted to produce a representative national sample of adults aged 18 and over. The maximum sampling error is ±4.1%.


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About the Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society
The Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society (formerly the Caesarea Forum) will take place May 24-25, 2016 at the Dan Hotel (Lehi St 32, Jerusalem, 97856) and bring together leading economists, government ministers and officials, prominent business people, public servants, academic experts, and other top representatives from the public and private sectors. In total, there will be 70 people sitting around the able, engaging in deep, quality discussions and delving into the most important related topics on the public agenda.

This year, the conference will focus on the challenges of government and the economy, and the influence that political stability has on the ability of the government to advance reforms and impact the performance of the business sector and the effectiveness of civil service. It will also look at the right way to integrate innovation into the government ministries, the dynamic and rapid changes of the functioning of the workforce, the collapse of the financial market, the result of people retiring at older ages, and the role business press plays in Israel.

Simultaneous audio translation in English will be available.
Press must RSVP to Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Director of International Communications, at 050-718-9742 or and bring a valid GPO card.
The conference will also be live-streamed via IDI's Hebrew website,
Full schedule>>