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Poll: Israelis Remain Proud of Identity, Youth Identify More as Right-Wing

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Israeli youths wave flags and sing as police stand guard before they start marching at a square outside Jerusalem’s Old City May 29, 2022. Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

JNS.org – Israelis’ national pride remained stable in 2022, and a higher percentage of young Israelis identified as right-wing, according to the 2022 Israeli Democracy Index, whose findings were released by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) on Sunday.

“Pride in being Israeli has remained stable among the Jewish public over the years (multi-year average: 85.9%),” the poll found. Among the Arab public, 2022’s figure of 38% was much lower than the multiyear average of 46%.

However, the poll also found that since 2019 and until June 2022, there was a decline in the percentage of those surveyed who saw Israel’s situation as “good or very good,” and a rise in the percentage who said the situation was “bad or very bad.”

The survey found that over the last 20 years, a higher percentage of younger respondents than of older respondents identified as politically right wing (73% in the 18-24 age group).

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The poll noted however that “in all age groups, the percentage of respondents on the right has consistently risen over the years.”

The poll noted a “significant overlap” between religious identity and political attitudes. In all religious groups a majority identified as right-wing, while the secular group was divided more or less evenly between right (32%), center (32%) and left (30%).

The strongest tension in Israeli society is between Arabs and Jews, the poll found. The Arab public viewed the tension between the two groups as the most severe in the 20 years the poll has been conducted. The Jewish public also rated the tension highest compared to most other years of the survey.

The Arab riots of spring 2021 pushed the numbers higher in both groups. While there’s been a decline among Arabs since then, the number has remained high among Jews “and even [rose] slightly in 2022.”

Public trust in state institutions declined across the board in 2022. Institutions that saw significant declines were “political parties,” the Knesset, the government, the media, the police and the Supreme Court.

The Israel Defense Forces and the President of Israel saw only slight decreases in trust in comparison.

When asked, “Israel is defined as both a Jewish and democratic state. In your opinion which component should predominate,” respondents who belonged to religious groups chose the Jewish component (Haredim—85%, national religious—77%, traditional religious—58.5%).

Among the secular, 51% said the democratic component should predominate. Fifteen percent chose the Jewish component and 31% said both components should be given equal weight.

Eighty percent of Jewish respondents said that crucial decisions regarding peace and security should be made by a Jewish majority. On decisions related to economy and society, 60% said a Jewish majority was necessary.

The survey was conducted on the internet and by telephone from May 22-June 21, 2022, and included 1,092 men and women interviewed in Hebrew and 219 in Arabic.

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