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The 2005 Israeli Democracy Index: A Decade after the Assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin

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  • Publication Date:
  • Cover Type: Softcover
  • Number Of Pages: 154 Pages
  • Center: The Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research
  • Price: 80 NIS

The 2005 Israeli Democracy Index studies the quality and functioning of Israeli Democracy ten years after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, as well as on the background of the campaign against the Gaza disengagement plan. The Index findings indicate that Israelis are fearful of another political assassination and uncertain that the lessons of the murder were taken to heart.

List of Figures and Tables
Acknowledgements
Preface – Prof. Arye Carmon
Summary of the Israeli Democracy Index, 2005

Part One – Updating the Democracy Index, 2005

A. Description of the Research and its Goals

B. The Democracy Indicators
1. A Summary Outline
2. Israel 2005 as Reflected in the Indicators: Changes since the 2004 Index
3. Selected Findings from the Index

C. The Democracy Survey
1. A Summary Outline
2. Democracy's Implementation in Israel According to the Three Aspects: The Perception of the Israeli Public, 2005
3. Democracy's Implementation in Israel According to the Three Aspects: A Comparison between 2003 and 2005
4. Democracy's Implementation in Israel According to Various Population Groups
5. Democratic Attitudes among the Israeli Public, 2005 According to the Three Aspects
6. Democratic Attitudes among the Israeli Public: A Comparison between 2003 and 2005
7. Democratic Attitudes According to Various Population Groups
8. The Public's Degree of Trust in Key Institutions in Israel, 2003 – 2005
9. The Most Important Problem the Government Must Deal With: The Public View

Part Two – On the Tenth Anniversary of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's Assassination

A. Background

B. Yitzhak Rabin as Reflected in Israeli Public Opinion, 2005
1. Yitzhak Rabin in the Collective Memory
2. The Question of Blame: Explanations and Reasons for the Assassination
3. The Public Perception of the Sentence Imposed on Yigal Amir
4. The Influence of the Assassination on the Israeli Public, on Israeli Society, and on Israeli Democracy
5. Drawing Lessons from the Assassination

C. Did Rabin's Assassination Influence Democratic Culture in Israel?
1. Rabin's Assassination and Value Priorities
2. Political Tolerance
3. The Legitimacy of Protest
4. Summary

D. Identity within the Bounds of Controversy: Identity Types in the Jewish Public Ten Years After Rabin's Assassination
1. The Dimensions of the Identity
2. Types of Identity
3. Types of Identity and Religiosity
4. Identity Types, Right-Left and Political Preferences
5. The External and Internal Identity Dimensions
6. The Public's Attitude to Yitzhak Rabin

E. A Review of Recent Studies on the Assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and its Influence on Israeli Society and Democracy
1. The Causes of the Assassination
2. Public Feelings and Reactions after the Assassination
3. Rabin's Image in the Collective Memory
4. The Assassination's Influence and its Implications for Israeli Society and Democracy

Appendices
Appendix A: The Democracy Index 2005 Compared to 2004
Appendix B: The Democracy Index February 2005 Compared to the Democracy Indices 2003 and 2004
Appendix C: Frequencies for the Rabin Survey, July 2005

Special Findings Related to the Assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin:

  • Political Assassination: 84% of the respondents say that a political assassination could happen again (34% of them are fairly sure that such an assassination will happen again).
  • Collective Memory of Rabin: 77% of the respondents mention Rabin’s assassination as the most significant event in the history of Israel since its creation.
  • Rabin’s Role as Former Prime Minister: Respondents placed Yitzhak Rabin first on a scale of Israeli prime ministers ranked according to their functioning, with 30%; after which came Menachem Begin (22%), and in third place was David Ben-Gurion (18%).

General Findings:

  • Civil War: 42% think that the likelihood of a civil war as a result of attempts to reach agreements on the future of the occupied territories is very high, while a further 30% assign this a low probability. Only 28% hold a civil war to be unlikely.
  • Government Institutions: The most striking finding was a 9% drop in the degree of public trust in the police, an 8% drop in the degree of trust in the IDF, a 7% drop in the degree of trust in the Supreme Court and the Chief Rabbinate, and a 6% drop in the degree of trust in the State Attorney’s office. Nevertheless, the IDF continues to be the institution enjoying the highest level of public trust (78%), followed by the Supreme Court (70%). It seems plausible to construe the findings concerning the IDF and the police within the context of the disengagement plan, which places these two institutions at the eye of the storm.
  • The State of Democracy: As in previous surveys, the Democracy Index tests the strength of democracy in Israel and the level of support for it. This year, a drop of 5% was recorded in the number of those holding that democracy is the desirable regime for Israel, although their number is still large – 80% in 2005 compared to 85% in 2004. A similar drop was recorded in the number of those who declared democracy the best form of government – 74%, compared to 80% in 2004.
  • The Social-Ideological Rift: Deep social and ideological rifts are a well known characteristic of Israeli society, and participants in the survey were asked for their views concerning the relationships between different groups in the population. 31% point to good relationships between religious and secular Jews, a rise of 3% compared to last year, and only 11% hold that relations between Jews and Arabs are good, a drop of 5% compared to 2004. Furthermore, a significant rise was recorded in the number of those opposed to the claim that a Jewish majority is required on decisions fateful to the country, such as returning territories – 34% in 2005 compared to 23% in 2004. A rise of 9% was recorded in the number of respondents opposed to the demand that the government encourage Arab emigration from the country – 50% oppose such encouragement in 2005, compared to 41% in the previous year.
  • The Social-Economic Rift: In the social-economic realm, only 19% hold that relationships between the rich and the poor are good, as compared to 24% who had held this view in 2004. A drop of 8%, however, was recorded in the number claiming that social-economic equality in the country is inadequate (80% in 2005, compared to 88% a year ago). Also, 63% of the respondents hold that men are not necessarily more successful political leaders than women, compared to 70% in the previous year.
  • Interest in Politics: 71% of the respondents in the Democracy Index survey reported an interest in politics (a rise of 4% compared to 2004), 81% reported that they stay informed about politics daily or several times a week. About two thirds discuss political issues with their friends and their families, but only 5% are active in or favor a specific political party (a drop of 2% compared to 2004).
  • Israeli Pride: 83% of the participants in The 2005 Israeli Democracy Index are proud to be Israeli – a rise of 4% compared to 2004; 89% want to remain in Israel in the long term – a rise of 2% compared to the previous year; 88% are certain that they will remain in the country, and 77% feel themselves part of the State of Israel and its problems – a rise of 4% compared to the 2004 survey.