Photo: AFP
No faith in Olmert
Photo: AFP
Photo: AP
Israelis willing to fight for country
Photo: AP
Supreme Court preserves democracy
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
66 percent of public dissatisfied with Israeli democracy
Poll by Israel Democracy Institute shows only 21 percent of Israeli have faith in prime minister, most don’t trust military echelon. 73 percent of Jews say Arabs prone to violence, while 55 percent say Arabs 'will never reach Jews' cultural level'

Sixty-six percent of Israelis are not satisfied with the functioning of Israeli democracy, a poll by the Israel Democracy Institute showed on Sunday.


The poll, conducted among a representative sample of 1,203 respondents showed that 70 percent of Israelis feel that politicians do not consider the citizen's opinions.


The survey, which is conducted annually, was carried out by the Guttman Center in three different languages, and with a maximum sampling error of 2.8 percent.


Customarily, the poll's findings are presented in a conference by the president, but it was decided that the poll would be present directly
to the public this year, due to the president's suspension.


The annual democracy index showed that 79 percent of the respondents are concerned with the state's current situation, but a similar number of citizens (76 percent) are proud to be Israeli. Most of the public feels it is inseparable from the State of Israel and its problems, and is willing to fight for the state when the need arises.


Eighty-six percent of the public feels that the government is not handling the state's problems in the right manner, while only 29 percent say they trust the political echelon's statements on security matters.


Many citizens feel that "a few strong leaders could do the country more good than all the meetings and laws" noting a 9 percent increase to 69 percent from last year. 


21 percent believe in Olmert 

One of the poll's most outstanding findings in 2007 was the 22 percent drop in the public's faith in the prime minister, from 43 percent in 2006, to 21 percent this year.


Faith in the president has also dropped, from 67 percent last year to 22 percent in 2007, and faith in the Supreme Court declined from 68 percent to 61 percent.


Israel Police also suffered a three percent drop in the public's faith, from 44 percent to 41 percent, while the IDF lost five percent of the public's trust, from 79 percent to 74 percent.


While the Knesset also suffered a five percent drop from 79 percent to 74 percent of the public's faith, and faith in the government went down from 39 percent to 31 percent, Israeli media actually experienced a one percent increase in the public's faith, from 44 percent last year, to 45 percent in 2007.


The Supreme Court is viewed by the public as the institute which best preserves democracy, as 39 percent of the respondents agreed. The media came close behind, receiving 34 percent of the public's trust, a high increase from last year's 25 percent.


The public's faith in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's ability to preserve democracy only reached 14 percent, and the Knesset came last at 13 percent.


The Second Lebanon War left most of the respondents agreeing that the state's defense budget should be increased, while only 13 percent said it should be reduced, and 61 percent said they do not trust the military echelon's statements on security matters.


Social budget cuts unjustified 

According to the survey, 82 percent of the public feels that social budget cuts for the sake of security are unjustified, while only 18 percent said they were members of social welfare organizations.


Fifty-nine percent of Israelis would like to see more socialistic-economic policies rather than capitalistic.


The poll showed that 79 percent of the respondents did not think relations between the rich and poor in Israel were good, and 66 percent said that strengthening ties between religious and seculars was necessary for real improvement.


The faith Israelis have in the state has also suffered over the years, and reached a low of 31 percent in 2007, still, 65 percent of Israelis believe that the state's citizens would be willing to compromise on important matters in order to reach common ground on which they could all live.


'Arabs are prone to violence' 

In Arab-Jew ties, 87 percent of the respondents said the relations were either not good or not good at all.


Some 55 percent of the Jewish respondents agreed that "Arabs will never reach the cultural level of the Jews", while 51 percent of the Arabs agreed that "the Jews are racist".


The majority of both Arabs and Jews (73 percent) said that they had a hard time trusting the other and believed that the other side was prone to violent behavior.


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