What unites and separates Israelis on COVID19 policies?

Results from a new independent survey

The survey was administered on April 1st, 2020, by Geocartography and sponsored by the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies. The study was conducted as part of an Internet survey of 626 men and women, Internet surfers aged 18 and over. The sample is representative of this population in the State of Israel (Internet surfers) at a 95% confidence level.

Participants in the survey were asked to rate their support for specific government policies and which COVID-19 restrictions affected their lives the most.

Not surprisingly, 77% of Israelis reported being primarily affected by the ban on family reunions, almost as many (72%) by the lack of freedom of movement and 55% by the prohibition to visit nature sites and outdoor sports. A lower percentage reported being affected by the loss of income (43%), children care (45%), and participation in community gatherings (44%). A further, 39% reported feeling anxious and uncertain about their future.

The respondents were then asked if they trusted the government to do the right thing, a minority (46%) trusted the government fully, the others had only partial or no trust in the government. Confidence in the government is the same across gender but increases with the level of religiosity and decreases slightly with levels of education. Only 35% of the secular, trusted the government compared to 63% for the more religious. Among the respondents, with an academic degree, 40% had full confidence in the government compared to 50% for the rest of the population.

Participants who reported higher trust in the government also tend to support surveillance on private citizens and trust that security monitoring will be temporary compared to the participants with less trust that fear that surveillance could become permanent.

Respondents were asked further to rate different lockdown policies and enforcement by security forces. Israelis (80%) largely support the ban to congregate, and 73% agree that it should be enforced.

Fewer respondents (53%) agree with giving fines to citizens found outside the 100 meters radius, only 27% agree to the use of force to stop a citizen out of the allowed range, and 13% support shooting at them. The same pattern as before appears, the individuals with high trust in the government show stronger support for bans, and lockdown (90%) compared to only15% among the respondents with less trust in the public service.

However, as policies become more coercive, both groups start to converge. For policies that don't involve punishment, the difference between both populations is 29 points (84% vs 55%), for policies involving physical force the difference is less than five (17% vs 12%). It is encouraging to see that Israelis are reluctant to embrace coercive policies against their fellow citizens regardless of their trust in the government to do the right thing.

You can read the full study and take the same survey

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