JERUSALEM — With the prime minister facing a slew of corruption allegations, the peace process at a standstill and the government moving to stifle critics, it is no secret that Israel is a deeply polarized nation. But a new survey released on Tuesday shows just how divided the country has become.
The annual Israeli Democracy Index found that 45
Netanyahu's government, which took office in 2015, is dominated by religious and nationalist parties, many of whom have taken an increasingly hard line against perceived critics of the government.
His culture minister, for example, has moved to block funding to
Netanyahu's tactics have drawn comparisons to his friend, U.S. President Donald Trump, whose own war against the media and liberal critics propelled him to victory in last year's election.
According to Tuesday's survey, nearly three-quarters of Jewish right-wing voters believe "the leftist judiciary, media and academia interfere with the elected right wing's ability to rule." On the other hand, 79
Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute, a respected
"Within the Jewish Israeli public, deep and ongoing disagreements exist regarding the proper balance between Jewish and democratic values of the state," he said.
The survey found widespread dissatisfaction with the country's politicians. It found 68
Tamar Hermann, an Israeli professor who led the research, said that while the dissatisfaction levels were similar to last year's survey, this year there was a marked increase in people who believe the country's overall situation is good, to 48
Hermann, academic director of the institute's Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research, said this contrast was striking.
"You see the politicians as if they live on another planet, whereas the public lives on this planet," she said. "In a way, it is possible to live a quite good life on the public planet, whereas on the politicians' planet the situation is quite dismal."
The study interviewed 1,024 people and had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. The margin increased to 3.4 points for Jewish respondents and 7.9 points for the smaller Arab sample size. The research was conducted in May, but took months to analyze and publish. Hermann said, however, that public opinion on such issues is "pretty stable."
Josef Federman, The Associated Press