Israelis' trust in their govt at a 20-year low, the 'Times of Israel' reports
Nineteen days since the Hamas attack of 7 Oct, many Israelis who believe there is a need to uproot Hamas do not trust their own government to oversee the process
Nineteen days into the Israel-Palestine conflict that escalated since the Hamas attack of 7 October, many Israelis who believe there is a need to uproot Hamas nevertheless do not trust their own government to oversee the process, Israeli media reports say.
So far, Israel has seen 1,400 people killed while 224 have allegedly been abducted by Hamas. Israel is currently preparing for a ground offensive in Gaza, with apprehensions around escalation on the northern border growing apace, the Times of Israel has reported.
The Israelis voiced concern about the government, citing the catastrophic failures of both the government and its security chiefs.
They say that not only did the present dispensation fail to prevent the attack by Hamas, it also failed to respond promptly to the crisis, leaving unarmed civilians to fend for themselves.
The Israelis also believe that the slow and clumsy reservist call-up process has exposed shocking shortages in basic military equipment.
They also indict the government for its sluggish civil response in support of those who are displaced by the fighting, the Times of Israel report says.
These public sentiments are backed up by new data, which show that Israelis’ trust in their government is at a 20-year low — at just 18 per cent.
Only 20.5 per cent of Jewish Israelis and 7.5 per cent of Arab Israelis polled by the Israel Democracy Institute in the aftermath of the Hamas attack said they had trust in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet. (In June, these populations polled at 28 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively, on the same question.)
Faith in the security forces and in the media, by contrast, has increased, despite the failure of the Israeli military.
Jewish Israelis’ trust in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) rose by 2.5 per cent to 87 per cent and Arab Israeli trust similarly increased by 2 per cent to 23 per cent, the Times of Israel reports.
At least seven senior Israeli officials have publicly taken blame for the state’s failure to protect its citizens, meanwhile, including the IDF chief of staff, the defense minister, the head of Shin Bet, and the head of the National Security Council.
Former prime minister Naftali Bennett has said that he also shares the blame.
Notably missing from those who came forward to share the blame: Prime Minister Netanyahu.
The prime minister has also failed to interact with the public beyond videos, public appearances with visiting world leaders (where he does not take questions) and PR photo ops with the troops, the critics note, per the Times of Israel report.
But taking the blame is not what the Israeli public's biggest gripe is over.
Rather, to many, the government has exacerbated its October 7 failure by responding inadequately in the aftermath, the report said.
On Sunday, rhe mayor of Netivot, considered a traditional stronghold for Netanyahu’s Likud party, sent a letter to the prime minister, accusing the government of “abandoning” his municipality. This has been as the latest in a growing chorus of criticism that has cracked even Likud’s famously loyal base.
It took Netanyahu a week to first visit the attacked communities in Israel, and eight days to meet the families of hostages taken by Hamas.
The process for negotiating their release is still not well-known even after four were released by Hamas in recent days. The Israeli government's involvement in the release of the hostages is reported to have been minimal, per the Times of Israel.
The Netanyahu government has also come in for heavy criticism over its handling of the hostage crisis, with relatives complaining that they have had hardly any contact with the government representatives.
In the initial days of the attack, civil society and private individuals both stepped into the vacuum, organising open-source and cellphone-based tracking of missing family members, with hopes of finding clues as to their current or last-known whereabouts.
With reports about IDF’s shortages of equipment to protect its reservists, non-Israelis and diaspora Jews are filling the gap, pumping money, bulletproof vests and other needed supplies into the army units, the Times of Israel has also reported.
Meanwhile, determined to return to power and having burned his centrist and moderate right-wing political alliances during the five election cycles Israel has held within four years, Netanyahu has allied his right-wing Likud party to two far-right and two ultra-Orthodox partners.
Likud and its partners have called themselves natural allies, and have spoken about their union as an ideologically “full-on right-wing government”. But this is the most hardline coalition Netanyahu has ever led in his 16 years in Israel’s top job, and to manage it, he has situated himself as a decision-making gatekeeper for the government committees and appointments, the Times of Israel reported — and apparently, this is backfiring in the trust and popularity polls!