Poll Shows New Low in Settler and Haredi Trust in Legal System

Ultra-Orthodox and West Bank, East Jerusalem Jews less likely to trust law, study reveals.

People in ultra-Orthodox and settler communities are unlikely to consider the court system in Israel legitimate, according to a new poll. The report also showed that compared to other Western countries, degree of trust placed on the justice system by the Jewish population inside the Green Line is also low.

The annual study was carried out this month by a team at The Center for the Study of Crime, Law and Society at Haifa University, headed by Prof. Arye Rattner. The study has been carried out annually since 2000, but its findings are only presented here now for the first time.

Haredi Tomer Appelbaum 14072011
Tomer Appelbaum

The poll examines the attitudes of different communities in Israel, religious and secular, as well as different ethnic groups, toward the courts, the Supreme Court and the police.

The survey carried out this month included 1,373 people asked to respond to the degree of legitimacy they feel the courts have and whether they respect and appreciate the decisions of the courts, on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest. The overall Jewish population gave the courts a mark of 3.52, while the settlers gave it a 2.78 and the ultra-Orthodox a 2.24.

The survey's results reflect a rift in attitudes to law and the courts between the overall Jewish and Arab populations in Israel, on the one hand, and the Haredim and the settlers on the other, Rattner said. "The data is troubling and could hint at phenomena of failure to obey the law," he said.

According to this year's survey, trust in the police is particularly low. Among the general Jewish and Arab communities inside the Green Line, only 24 percent express confidence in the police. The rest express moderate to low levels of trust, or complete mistrust.