Ahead of a vote on the state budget, a recent poll found that Israelis generally support cutting the defense budget in favor of social services – but found that the IDF is the most trusted government institution in Israel by far.
The Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) on Wednesday published its July Peace Index survey, conducted with Tel Aviv University. The survey included 600 respondents who were contacted in phone interviews.
When asked to select the most trusted national institution, 51% chose the IDF, as opposed to 22.7% who selected the Supreme Court and just 3.1% who picked the Knesset. Among Jewish respondents only, the IDF was backed by a full 61%.
No less than 80% said the IDF can still be classified as the "people's army," and a similar percentage said they are proud of the army.
There has been talk of ending compulsory IDF service and making the military a professional career army. Queried about the issue, 73.6% said they want to continue the compulsory draft, while 21% wanted to shift to a professional army.
However, despite the support for the army, 57% of Jewish respondents say funds should be transferred from the defense budget to social programs, while 37% disagreed.
The defense budget is too high according to 41%, as opposed to 26% who support the current level and 20% who said the defense budget is too low.
While 39% of Jews said senior defense officials exaggerate security threats to increase the budget, no less than 51% disagreed with that pronouncement.
The poll also asked about the peace process with the Palestinian Authority (PA), and found that over 57% of Jews are strongly or moderately in favor of the process.
Tellingly, over 74% said the talks won't lead to peace anytime soon, with a full 38.9% saying they didn't believe at all that the talks would lead to peace.