Map of the Middle East
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Public confidence in the IDF is virtually at an all-time low, according to the latest survey of the Israel Democracy Institute.

Although public confidence in the army rose significantly in mid-2021 following Operation Guardian of the Walls, it soon dropped again, from 90 percent in June to 78 percent in October, the lowest figure seen since 2008.

Public confidence in the Supreme Court also dropped, after rising somewhat to 48 percent in June – it subsequently dropped to 41 percent in October.

With regard to the police, public confidence dropped from 41 percent in October of 2020 to 33.5 percent in October, 2021. The government fared even worse, dropping to 27 percent; the media dropped to 25 percent, the Knesset to 21 percent, and the various political parties to just 10 percent.

Among the Arab sector, public confidence in state institutions is lower than among Jews, and in no area is it above 50 percent. However, an opposite trend can be seen in some aspects – such as the Supreme Court, rising from 40 percent to 49 percent. Public confidence among Arabs in the police force sank to 13 percent in June, however, from 26 percent a year earlier – it rose a little to 22 percent by October.

Around a third of Israelis surveyed (31 percent) responded that Israel is in a generally “good” or “very good” position – the lowest figure in the last decade. The drop was most marked in the Arab sector, although their sentiments improved somewhat in the aftermath of Operation Guardian of the Walls – in June, 48 percent of Arabs rated their condition as “bad” or “extremely bad” as opposed to just 28 percent in October.

Among Jews, 29 percent of left-wingers rated their condition as either “good” or “very good” in October, up from 17 percent in June. Among those who defined themselves as centrists, the corresponding figures were 39 percent up from 26 percent; among right-wingers, the number dropped from 39.5 percent in June to just 29 percent in October.

A substantial majority of Jews (84.5 percent) expressed themselves as proud to be Israelis, as opposed to just 27.5 percent of Arabs, a sharp drop from 2019 when 65 percent of Arabs answered positively. 74.5 percent of the overall population said that they thought Israel was a good place to live (76 percent of Jews and 66 percent of Arabs), and 72 percent of respondents said that they would opt to remain in Israel even if they had the option of moving to another country in the Western world and receiving citizenship there, an increase from 65 percent the preceding year. Interestingly, among Arabs the number of those satisfied with remaining in Israel was higher than among Jews – 80 percent as opposed to 70 percent. Broken down into political affiliations, the level of satisfaction with living in Israel was highest among the right-wing camp, at 74 percent, with 67.5 percent of centrists and just 57 percent of leftists saying they would remain in Israel even with another option elsewhere.

Responding to the survey’s findings, Israeli President Isaac Herzog said, “The drop in public confidence in the state’s institutions is extremely worrying. There is no alternative to Israeli democracy, to our state’s institutions, and these findings cause me sleepless nights. A state whose citizens do not have faith in it will not last; public confidence in the state is its most precious asset, and its continued decline is a warning sign to all of us.”

Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute, stated that, “The results of this survey show that despite the great challenges the state is dealing with, a decisive majority of the public believes that Israel is a good place to live. The general decline in public confidence in state institutions is something that can be seen across the world in all democratic states; however, politicians should nonetheless take the findings to heart.”

Prof. Tamar Herman of the IDI added, “The results from the 2021 survey show, similar to previous years, a correlation between political views and opinions of state institutions. This year, with a government of center and left-wing parties taking power, we can see an opposite trend to previous years when right-wing parties controlled government – right-wingers are now more pessimistic than they were in the past about the state of the country.”