The vast majority of all Israelis want Israel to be a democratic state; strong support for Israel as a Jewish state and for articles in its Declaration of Independence
The JPPI research focused on identifying areas of consensus and controversy within Israel’s complex and diverse society during a time of roiling dispute over the government’s plan to institute a comprehensive reform of the system of checks and balances regulating relations between Israel’s legislative and judicial branches of government.
“There is no denying the depth of the Israeli controversy, which threatens the cohesion and resilience of Israeli society and the state itself. This is reflected in the image the political camps have of each other: right-wing voters believe that the center-left considers it less important for Israel to be Jewish. They are wrong: 90% of center-left wants a Jewish state.
“At the same time, left-wing voters believe that the right considers it less important to have a democratic state. They too are wrong: 94% of right-wing supporters want a democratic state. JPPI’s 2023 Pluralism Index reveals that our extreme image of each other is incorrect. The facts are that a large majority wants Israel to be both a Jewish state (with a total support of 66%) and a democratic state (88%). This is encouraging news ahead of the 75th anniversary of our independence,” said Yedidia Stern, President of JPPI.
Below are key findings from this year’s Index:
- There is overwhelming support among Jews and Arabs for Israel as a democratic state, without deep disparities between different subgroups.
- There is strong support for Israel as a Jewish state, with significantly lower support among secular Israelis.
- In all population groups, a majority say that a democratic state means both freedom and human rights.
- Nearly half of Israeli Arabs (44%) say they do not oppose Israel as a Jewish state.
- The Jewish public as a whole expresses very strong agreement with central assertions in the Declaration of Independence.
- Assessments of religious coercion on the part of secular Israelis, and assessments of secular coercion on the part of Religious-Haredi Israelis, are at nearly equal levels.
- There is a continuing overall decline in the degree to which those living in Israel feel comfortable in the country – this year among the secular, those on the left, and Arabs.
Nearly half of Arab Israelis (44%) support Israel as a Jewish state, or say they “don’t care” if Israel is or is not a Jewish state. The share of Arabs who do not oppose Israel as a Jewish state is essentially the same as the share of Arabs who say they prefer that Israel not be a Jewish state, or who oppose Israel being a Jewish state (46%). This finding supports other studies that have assessed the extent of Arab-Israeli agreement with Israel being defined as a Jewish state. Most Arabs agreed with the statement “If there were a referendum regarding a constitution that defines Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and guarantees Arabs full civil rights, I would support it.
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