More Israelis satisfied with their economic situation than before pandemic — survey

Israel Democracy Institute study finds slight increase in public’s personal satisfaction under Bennett’s government; prime immediate concern is cost of living

Luke Tress is an editor and a reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

People shop at the Hadar Shopping mall in Jerusalem on December 16, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
People shop at the Hadar Shopping mall in Jerusalem on December 16, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israelis are slightly more satisfied with their personal economic situation than they were before the pandemic, a new survey has found.

The survey released Tuesday by the Israel Democracy Institute also showed that Israelis were more satisfied with the economy under Prime Minister Naftali Bennett than under his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu.

The researchers queried Israelis at the end of last month, and compared the results to a similar survey from July 2019, before the start of the pandemic.

In 2019, 28% of respondents said they were “somewhat satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their personal economic situation. In May of 2022, that figure rose to 33%.

There were also more people who were “not at all satisfied” in May 2022, however — 21%, compared to 16% in 2019. The researchers said this likely reflected societal and labor market inequalities caused by the pandemic.

Israel’s economy has rebounded strongly since the start of the pandemic, when economic activity largely ceased functioning amid repeated lockdowns and unemployment hit historic highs.

The country’s economic outlook continues to be relatively good, despite government instability and the global slowdown.

In the May survey, the leading concern for respondents in the coming year was the general cost of living in Israel, with 34% saying that was their top priority.

Twenty-three percent said the security situation was their lead concern, 18% selected housing prices and 14% said the political situation. The survey was carried out while the coalition was teetering, but had not yet collapsed.

The remaining respondents said their main concerns were COVID-19, immigration from Russia and Ukraine, or something else.

When asked about their main concern in the coming decade, the top choices were tensions between groups in Israeli society, housing prices and economic inequalities.

The survey by researchers Prof. Karnit Flug, Dana Bublil, Yarden Kedar and Roe Kenneth Portal surveyed a representative sample of 659 adult Israelis, including 503 Jews and 156 Arabs. The researchers conducted the survey between May 24-31.

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