Some 63.7 percent of Israelis believe the government should make heavy cuts to settlement funding to reduce the government budget deficit, according to survey results published Monday morning. It was the top choice for cuts among survey participants, ahead of other areas of public spending.
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The survey, conducted by the online research and data collection company Panels, polled 591 Israeli adults who constituted a representative sample of the Israeli population. The survey was commissioned by Boharim Taksiv Hevrati (Voting for a Social Budget), a social forum founded by organizations and individual activists who support changing Israel's social and economic policies.
The survey found that respondents' views on settlement funding wasn't correlated with their political affiliation or views on a possible Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories. On a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being the lowest level of support and 5 being the highest), the average score of right-wing voters for cutting funds to settlements was 3.8. Among those surveyed who ranked cuts to the settlements as the second most important area for reducing government expenditure, 81.9 percent stated they supported steep reductions.
The second most preferred target of government budget cuts among those surveyed was the defense budget, followed by public infrastructure. The areas where those surveyed wanted the smallest budget cuts were health services and social services, followed by education. The findings also showed that roughly 58 percent of respondents want the parties they expect to vote for on Election Day to publicly state what budgetary measures they will support or oppose before the elections. In addition 71 percent of respondents believe that the basket of basic goods subject to government price controls should be expanded.
On the question of possible taxation schemes that the new post-election government should implement to close the budget deficit, 22.3 percent of those surveyed supported lowering the value-added tax on basic consumer goods and raising the VAT on luxury items. Some 20 percent of respondents supported raising taxes on hard liquor and cigarettes and 19 percent supported an increase on the capital gains tax.