Israelis are feeling good. According to a new report on social confidence put out by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies, Israeli society is feeling more socially and economically stable than in years past.
In fact, the Taub Center index showed a rise of 17 percent in the social confidence of Israelis in 2010, the highest rate since the center began its index in 2001.
“The improvement seems to be for everyone across the board, although obviously there are different levels of social confidence for different population groups,” Prof. Ayal Kimhi, deputy director of the Taub Center, told The Jerusalem Post newspaper. “In 2008 and 2009, after the onset of the global economic crisis, people were pessimistic, but we can see that in 2010 we are moving out of a recession, and people are far more optimistic.”
The Taub index measures changes in standard of living, exposure to violence, basic economic security, and fears of unemployment. The survey questioned 1,000 respondents from all sectors of Israeli society. It has a range of 0 to 100 points, where 100 represents the optimal situation. In 2010, the index hit an all time high of 65.6 points.
The report showed a gap in confidence between the Israeli Arab population and the Israeli Jewish one. Of the Arab citizens questioned, 19% said they had serious financial worries, compared to 10% of Jewish Israelis; and 15% said they felt their social and economic situation was likely to worsen in the coming year, while just six percent of Jewish respondents felt the same.
But perhaps the biggest surprise in the results came from the Haredi ultra-orthodox community. Though considered to be among the weaker socioeconomic population groups, the index score for haredim was higher than the national average, ringing in at 68 points. Moreover, the ultra-orthodox respondents expressed a greater optimism than other groups in society that their situation will improve.
The Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel is an independent, non-partisan institution for socioeconomic research. The center provides decision makers, as well as the public in general, with a perspective on socioeconomic issues confronting the State of Israel.