Rosh Hashana. Hope for new year?
Photo: Visual/Photos
Livni. Opinions differ
Photo: Yaron Brener

Holiday poll finds negative national views

War and Peace Index ahead of Jewish New Year reveals that while most Israelis are satisfied with their personal status, views on state of nation are glum, though many believe PM-designate Tzipi Livni could have a positive effect

Just before Rosh Hashana gives us cause to rejoice in the new year, the War and Peach Index may give us cause to pause before ushering in the holiday cheer.


The new poll finds that when asked to rank their personal status during the past year on a scale of 1-10, just a small percentage of those surveyed (17.5%) ranked it at five or below. However when asked for a situation estimate on the state of the nation, the polled public took a negative turn, with 53% ranking it in the bottom five.


A categorical inquiry revealed the reasoning behind these pessimistic opinions, and internal affairs issues, including crime, violence, socio-economic gaps, and cultural rifts between Arabs and Jews, were at the top of the list of subjects with low estimates.


Eighty-three percent of those polled said they believed violence and crime had reached new heights this year, while 73% said the socio-economic gaps had widened in their opinion. Sixty-eight percent saw a deterioration in the political system of dealing with the cultural voids created between Arabs and Jews.


Estimations in the field of politics and defense were somewhat more optimistic, with almost half of those polled (48%) expressing the belief that Israel's international status had remained similar to that of previous years; 23.5% said it had deteriorated.


In regards to Israel's defense the surveyed public was evenly divided, with 39% expressing the opinion that Israel's situation had worsened, and 36% opining that it had remained as in previous years.


The public was evenly divided in regards to the State's relations with the Palestinians as well: 25% said relations had worsened, 27% said they had remained the same, and 24% said they had improved.


In regards to hopes for the future the polled public expressed an overall pessimistic approach. 45% said they believed crime and violence would increase during the coming year, and a similar percentage reiterated the forecast when asked about the nation's socio-economic gaps. There was not a single issue that received a positive polling in the forecast for the coming year.


Feminine charms

The Index also attempted to divine whether the Kadima primary elections had affected the public's beliefs about the coming year, regarding the growth of a new, more just and efficient system of politics, as advertised by the party's new Chairwoman Tzipi Livni.


39% of those surveyed said Livni's victory did not inspire any change in their thoughts on the future of the nation, 35% said they had renewed optimism thanks to the elections, and 20% said the election had rendered them pessimistic.


A similar pattern could be discerned regarding hopes for peace with the Palestinians inspired by the new chairwoman. Forty-two percent said her victory would not affect the peace process, while 32% believe Livni will bring a positive change. Eighteen percent believe Livni's effect on the process will be negative.


The forecasts regarding the peace process appeared to be affected by the public's voting tendencies as well, with 58% and 47.5% of Labor and Meretz supporters (respectively) expressing a positive outlook on Livni's chances to reach an accord with the Palestinians. Among religious and right-wing voters 53% and 73% (respectively) had negative expectations.


How does Livni's gender affect the public's view on her ability to function as prime minister? Almost half of those polled (49%) said her gender was irrelevant to her ability to conduct foreign and defense policies, 31.5% said they believed it would render her more capable, and only 13% feared Livni's gender would have a negative effect in these fields.


Regarding issues of finance and internal affairs, over half (54%) said they believed her gender would have no effect on her abilities, 31% expressed the belief that being a woman would grant her a better ability to deal with these issues, and just 7% said her gender would have a negative effect.


In matters of social welfare the polled public appeared approving of the fairer sex. 45% said the fact that Livni is a woman was advantageous in the field, while 42% said it would have no effect and just 4% saw Livni's gender as problematic.


The War and Peace Index published by Ynet is sponsored by The Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research and Tel Aviv University's Evans Program in Mediation and Conflict Resolution and run by Prof. Ephraim Yaar and Prof. Tamar Hermann. The interviews were conducted over the telephone and included 502 interviewees representing the adult Jewish population in Israel (including Yesha and the kibbutzim).


פרסום ראשון: 09.29.08, 09:22
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