Survey questions also examine social policy issues and reflect the public’s value preferences in regard to several matters on the public agenda. For example, the survey addresses social disparities, a recurrent issue on the social and economic agenda, in two dimensions: what the public thinks about the nature of changes taking place; and, its judgment about how government policy in various spheres has helped to ease or exacerbate the disparities. This issue cuts across many of the topics in the survey and it appears that the public’s feelings about the intensity and widening of social gaps correspond to findings in various other studies conducted in Israel.
The survey also attempted to ascertain the public’s evaluation of the effects of economic developments, with questions relating to the assessment of the respondent’s personal situation, including expectations of improvement. The twenty-six survey items were coupled with nine background questions about the respondents’ age, gender, education, income, date of immigration, level of religious observance, and so on.
Importantly, the survey is a tool that complements the Center’s analysis of social service allocations presented every year in its Annual Report. The survey illuminates the views of consumers of social services – the public at large – and, within the limitations that are typical of tools of this kind, is a reliable indicator of public attitudes.
This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 2005, Yaakov Kop (editor).