Israeli public trust in state institutions remains low, poll shows

Faith in government rises slightly in 2021, with a significant boost among Arab public, with an Arab party in Ra'am part of the coalition; IDF sees highest public approval with 78%

While the Israeli public's trust in the government rose ever so slightly this past year, overall confidence in state institutions remains low, according to an annual survey released Thursday by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI).
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  • For Arab Israelis, a significant increase was seen in their faith in the government and Knesset, as the coalition for the first time now includes an Arab party — Ra'am.
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    מליאת הכנסת
    מליאת הכנסת
    The Knesset plenum
    (Photo: Amit Shabi)
    The report — delivered in-person to President Isaac Herzog by the Israel Democracy Institute President Yohanan Plesner and Prof. Tamar Hermann, director of IDI's Viterbi Family Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research — was divided into four main topics: democratic values, the legal system, trust and general satisfaction.
    The annual report, in its 19th edition, revealed "a complex picture regarding the level of public trust in key institutions and officials, confidence in the country’s civil service and the overall strength of Israeli democracy," the IDI said in a statement.
    In keeping with previous surveys, the Israel Defense Forces has the highest level of public trust, despite slipping from 90% in 2019 to 78% in 2021.
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    IDF soldiers join the search on Tuesday for six men who broke out of the Gilboa maximum security prison
    IDF soldiers join the search on Tuesday for six men who broke out of the Gilboa maximum security prison
    IDF soldiers
    (Photo: EPA)
    The president of Israel was next highest in the trust rankings with 58%, similar to the 56% recorded in 2020.
    Though it is in third place, only a minority trust the Supreme Court, whose positive rating dropped from 42% in 2020 to 41% for 2021.
    The Israel Police was in fourth place with 33.5%, the media was at 25%, and at the bottom of the list came Knesset with 21% and political parties with 10%.
    Defying overall downward trend, the government rose to 27% compared to 25% in 2020.
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    ישיבת ממשלה
    ישיבת ממשלה
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett overseeing a cabinet meeting
    (Photo: Emile Salman)
    While Israeli-Arabs tend to trust state institutions and officials less than their Jewish counterparts, trust levels in Israel's Arab community have risen since last year.
    Roughly 36% of Israeli-Arabs polled trust the IDF and 25% trust Knesset, up from 17.5% in 2020.
    The government gained faith among the community as well, with 28% compared to 14% last year.
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