Israel Democracy Institute (IDI): 2022 Israeli Democracy Ind...

Israel Democracy Institute (IDI): 2022 Israeli Democracy Index

October 2, 2023

IDI recently published its 20th annual Israeli Democracy Index, a survey of public opinion on the status of Israeli democracy. The 2022 Israeli Democracy Index is unique as it provides a long-term analysis of topics previously examined, spanning from 2003 to 2022.  In the context of Israel's frequent elections and ongoing political developments, this year's findings are especially pertinent, sparking discussions about democracy's core values. Over its 20-year history, the survey covers diverse areas, from the state of Israeli democracy to trust in institutions, social tensions, equality, and the balance between Jewish and democratic aspects of Israel's identity. Presented to the President of Israel, this index serves as a vital resource for policymakers, shaping public discourse and informing decision-making.

The data below represents highlights from the Index that focused on Arab citizens of Israel and Jewish-Arab relations. 

Changes Over Time in Political and Social Self-Definitions of Israelis 

  • Arab respondents now report significantly lower support for Zionist parties compared to the past, showing a growing preference for non-Zionist (Arab) parties. 

  • Arab interviewees are less happy with their personal situation than are Jews, with multi-year averages of 56.0%. 

How is Israel doing? 

  • The feeling that the state is looking out for their security is noticeably lower among Arabs than among Jews (multi-year averages: 45.2% and 61.2%, respectively). 

  • Optimism about Israel's future has dwindled, dropping from a majority of 76% in 2012 to about 49% in 2022. This decline is more pronounced among the Arab population, with a multi-year average of 48.0%, compared to the Jewish population's 67.6%. 

  • Most respondents, both Jews (77.2%) and Arabs (82.0%), prefer to reside in Israel even when offered citizenship in another Western country. 

  • Despite a gradual decrease, 67.3 % Arabs still believe that Israel is a good place to live. 

Democracy, Government, Citizens 

  • A significant majority of Arab respondents support the inclusion of Arab parties in the government, including the appointment of Arab ministers (multi-year average, 78.8%). Among Jews, this view is only shared by a minority (multi-year average, 31.7%). 

  • The perception that Israeli democracy is in grave danger has slowly increased, rising from 45% in 2017 to 59% in 2022. This concern is notably higher among the Arab public, with a multi-year average of 71.5%, compared to Jews at 47.1%. 

  • Most Jewish citizens (70.3%) see Israel as treating its Arab citizens democratically, but only a minority of Arab citizens (32.7%) share this view. 

  • Among both Jews and Arabs, a substantial majority agree that politicians are more concerned with their own interests than with those of the public that elected them (multiyear average: Jews, 79.3%; Arabs, 73.1%). 

Public Trust in Institutions 

  • The Supreme Court places first in the Arab sample (multi-year average, 55.9%). In the 2022 survey, only 40 % expressed trust in the institution. 

  • The police are in third place in the Arab sample (with multi-year average of 37.5%). In 2022, confidence in the police reached a record low of 13%. 

  • Municipalities/local authorities: The level of trust in this institution has consistently been higher over the years in the Jewish sample than in the Arab sample (with multi-year averages of 58.2% and 32.7%, respectively). 

  • The Druze report a higher degree of trust in the IDF compared with the Christians and Muslims (with multi-year averages of 65.6%, 43.0%, and 28.1%, respectively). 

  • The government comes in fifth in the Jewish sample and seventh in the Arab sample (multi-year averages: 37.5% and 27.1%, respectively). In 2022, the level of trust in the government reached a historic low (21% of the total sample). 

Israeli Society 

  • Jews and Arabs: In most of our surveys, this source of tension headed the list in the total sample (multi-year average, 42.5%); however, between 2021 and 2022, the share who cited tensions between Jews and Arabs as the most severe soared from 46% to 61%. Arabs have tended more than Jews to rate this as the most serious point of friction (multi-year averages: 55.7% versus 40.1%, respectively), though there has also been an upsurge of Jews who take this view in the last two years. 

  • In both the Jewish and Arab populations, there has been a steep rise between 2018 and 2022 in the share who characterize relations between the two groups as bad or very bad (Jews, from 27% to 60%; Arabs, from 26% to 45%). But despite this, the Arab public tend to view this relationship as favorable to a greater degree than do the Jewish public (in 2022, 17% versus 4%, respectively). 

  • A majority of the Arab public feel that Arabs are discriminated against in Israel (multi-year average, 78.4%). 

  • A clear majority of Arab respondents agree with the statement that “most Arab citizens of Israel want to integrate into Israeli society” (multi-year average, 76 .6%). 


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