Despite the financial crisis and the looming threat from Iran, the War and Peace Index, published on Israel's 61st Independence Day, found that the majority of the Israeli public is positive, optimistic and satisfied with the state of the nation.
The War and Peace Index is conducted by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research. Published monthly since 1994, it is run by Prof. Ephraim Yaar and Prof. Tamar Hermann and is compiled of a monthly telephone survey of 600 Israeli citizens representing the various sectors in Israeli society.
The survey found that 80% of the Jews polled defined their personal status as "very good" or "good," 90% said they think Israel is doing "very well" as a nation; and 81% said they were "very optimistic" or "optimistic" as to the nation's future.
Some 81% also said that given their choice of countries to live in, they would prefer to stay in Israel.
Among the Israeli Arabs polled, 51% said their personal status was "very good," as opposed to 36% that described it as "bad" or "very bad." Two-thirds said that the nation's achievements are "good" or "fairly good," and a similar percentage expressed optimism as to the nation's future. An overwhelming majority – 94% – said they want to keep living in Israel.
Optimistic, yet realistic
Eighty-one percent of the Israelis surveyed said the State faired best in the fields of military and security, defining its accomplishments in those avenues as "very good."
The War and Peace Index also found that 71% of Israelis think that people are not as patriotic as they use to be in the past. Other figures indicated that 59% think that Israel has been able to create a stable, modern economy and 53% think it has become a successful democracy.
Still, only 46% of those polled said they thought the State has been able to infuse a sense of national unity in the public, only 38% said that Israel has made significant achievements in the fields of science and technology; as little as 28% said the country has been successful in giving equal rights to its Arab citizens and just 27% said they thought Israel has been able make actual progress for peace.
The most disconcerting data revealed that the Israeli public's faith in state systems is dwindling: While 91% said they had every faith in the Israeli Defense Forces, only 57% said they trusted the Supreme Court, only 43% lent credibility to the media, 39% said they trusted the police, only a third of the public has faith in the government and the Knesset (34% and 30% respectively), and only 21% believe in the political parties.
Among Israeli Arabs, 67% believe in the Supreme Court, 55% have faith in the media, 40% trust the Knesset, 33% trust the police, and 31% believe in the government and the political parties; however, only 22% trust the IDF.