On Israel's 69th Birthday, Both Jews and Arabs Say They're Proud to Be Israeli, Survey Says

Both Jews and Arab think the country's leadership doesn't do a good job of listening to them, but are overall proud to be Israeli, survey finds

A woman lies on the beach as Israel Air Force planes practice overhead for the Independence Day air show, April 28, 2017.
Tomer Appelbaum

On the eve of Independence Day, most Israelis are optimistic about the future of their country but critical of their leaders, according to a survey published on Sunday.

The survey, published jointly by the Jerusalem-based Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, found that 71 percent of Israelis (73 percent of Jewish respondents and 61 percent of Arab respondents) were either “very” or “quite” optimistic about the country’s future.

Yet, almost the exact same percentage said they thought their leaders were “not so good” or “not good at all” at paying attention to what they wanted. Jews tended to be harsher than Arabs: Barely 2 percent of the Jewish respondents thought that Israel’s leaders did a “very good” job of listening to their wants, while among Arab respondents, almost 19 percent did.

The survey was conducted among a representative sample of 600 respondents with a 4.1 percent margin of error.

Just under half of those questioned – 47.5 percent – categorized Israel’s situation today as “good” or “very good.” Arabs tended to be more upbeat in this regard than Jews: More than 56 percent of Arab respondents described the country’s situation as either “good” or “very good,” as compared with only 44 percent of Jewish respondents.

When asked about their personal situation, however, Jews felt better about themselves than Arabs. Almost 75 percent of Jewish respondents described their personal situation as “good” or “very good,” compared with 57 percent of Arab respondents. Only 0.2 percent of Jewish respondents described their personal situation as “very bad,” compared with 4 percent of Arab respondents.

More than 80 percent of the respondents said they were “quite proud” or “very proud” to be Israelis. As might be expected, Jewish respondents took greater pride in their Israeli identity (86 percent), but even among Arab respondents, a majority of 51 percent described themselves as “quite proud” or “very proud” to be Israeli.

When asked, however, to what extent they felt part of the state of Israel and its problems, almost 22 percent of the Arab respondents said “not at all” – the same answer was given by just 2.5 percent of the Jewish respondents.

Most Israelis surveyed thought their leaders did a good or fairly good job of guaranteeing security and economic stability. In contrast, most thought they did a poor job of narrowing social gaps.