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Craig Lebrau
Craig Lebrau

Survey Reveals That More Than Half of Israelis Want a Strong Leader

What kind of President do the people of Israel want to see? The latest survey on this matter has revealed that the majority of Israelis would prefer to see a strong leader who isn’t influenced by others when making decisions.

The Full Story

This story originated in the annual study that is carried out by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI). They found that 57% of Israelis would like to see a “strong leader” who makes decisions without taking into account the press, public opinion, or the Knesset.

It is interesting to note that the percentage of people who think in this way has increased significantly in recent years, going up from just 41% in 2014. In terms of the demographics, the number of Jewish Israelis looking for a strong leader is 55%, while 61% of the country’s Arabic citizens are of the same opinion. 

What Does President Isaac Herzog Think of the Numbers?

President Isaac Herzog reportedly informed the heads of the IDI that the numbers represented a worrying drop in confidence in Israel’s state institutions. He said that there is “no substitute for Israel’s democracy” and its state institutions. Could a shift in the nation’s languages help to promote more of this much-needed confidence, by ensuring that everyone feels equally well-represented and informed?

The President then went on to say that the loss of confidence demonstrated in these numbers worries him enough that it “keeps me awake at night”. He pointed out that no state can continue to exist unless its citizens have confidence in its institutions, leading him to call the ongoing decline in public confidence “a warning light for all of us”.

The harsh words, corruption accusations, and brawls that we have witnessed in the political scene in recent times have, in some people’s eyes, replaced more positive features such as collaboration and worthwhile partnerships that increase the quality of life in Israel. Yet, Herzog doesn’t think that is a “decree of fate” and believes that we must act differently from now on by looking for a way to restore the truth that has been lost.

More Figures from the Study 

Another interesting set of data from the study showed that around 75% of Arabic citizens think that the concept of democracy in Israel is in danger. This compares to 44% of Jewish Israelis who think in the same way. When we focus solely on answers obtained from the Jewish citizens, we can see that 63% of those on the left are worried about the danger to democracy, while 43% of people on the right and 39% of those on the right think in this way.

The question of whether the legal system treats everyone equally was also covered in this piece of research. The result was that just over half of the people questioned think that the political links of the country’s officials affects the way they are treated in legal matters, while a majority of citizens from all political views think that the under-fire Supreme Court currently wields too much power.

While Hebrew and Arabic remain the most important languages here, there is a growing interest in English. This is something that can be seen in the demand for intermediate English classes online. By learning online on a 1-to-1 basis or in a group, students can build lessons around their life and start speaking more fluently. English is already widely used by the Government and could provide the ideal way of communicating in the future.

 This data provides a fascinating insight into how Israelis think and some of the challenges that the nation has to face up to in the near future. A look at the Israel Film Archive, now online after previously being restricted to visitors at the Jerusalem Cinematheque, shows us key moments from the country’s past and may help to put the present issues in a historical context.

About the Author
Craig Lebrau is the Director of Cato Media. A former programmer, Craig is interested in Israel's startup ecosystem and aims to share his insights learnt from expanding to and managing business in Israel.
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