Study: Nearly Half of Israelis Pessimistic Country Can Overcome COVID-19

Israeli police officers guard at the entrance to a neighborhood in Teveria, June 24, during a closure on some neighborhoods in the city following the spread of the coronavirus. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Almost half of the country’s residents are not optimistic about the country’s ability to overcome the coronavirus pandemic, but a majority still plan to send their children to schools on September 1 if they are opened, according to a survey conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI), released last week.

According to the study, some 45% of Israelis expressed pessimism regarding the ability of Israeli society to overcome the ongoing crisis. Comparing to data from earlier studies, this shows a significant drop in public optimism.

In addition, trust in the leadership, while increased compared to earlier studies, is still low, with 61% of Israelis claiming to not trust Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to properly manage the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. By contrast, coronavirus coordinator Prof. Ronni Gamzu was viewed more favorably, with 59% placing their trust in him.

Despite the low amount of trust in Netanyahu, 57% of Israelis claim political opposition to the prime minister is the main motivation for the ongoing nationwide protests, with only a third crediting the state of the economy due to the coronavirus.

Interestingly, some Israelis expressed more optimism about their economic futures, with average income earners showing the biggest rise compared to prior studies.

Schools were arguably the biggest highlight of the study, however, with the overwhelming majority – 75% – of Israelis planning to send their children if schools are opened. This is despite fears that reopening schools could lead to a new spike in infections.

It seems that schools will open on time for the new school year, despite reservations.

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