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Sderot Conference 2012

In 2012, Israelis are more pessimistic about their economic future than at any time in the past decade, according to a social resilience index. A third of the respondents say their family income provided them with a low standard of living, up from 20% in 2011.

Israelis are more pessimistic this year about their economic future than at any time in the past decade, according to an index of social resilience being presented this week at the Sderot Conference on Social Issues at Sapir College.

The index, based on a random sampling of the country's adult population, shows that just 26% of Israelis feel the country promises their children a good future and only 58% see it as the best country for Israelis to live in - down from 69% last year.

A homeless man in Tel Aviv. Photo by Ofer Vaknin.

"A comparison to the 2011 survey shows a significant increase in the rate of respondents worried over all five categories of the family economy: future support of children, savings, dependence on others economically, supporting the family, and the means for a dignified old age," the report says.

A third of the respondents said their family income provided them with a low standard of living, the highest rate since 2006 and up from 20% in 2011. More than 60% of Israelis are worried about economic issues. Three quarters of wage earners are worried they won't be able to provide a dignified living for their families and 78% are concerned they won't be able to grow old gracefully.

The economic slowdown that Israel entered this year is reflected by the findings. The 35% of respondents reporting layoffs at their workplace is double the 18% figure from last year, while 78% believe there is a high level of corruption - the highest since 2006.

The survey, conducted by the committee for measuring social resilience, is designed to measure how Israelis feel about six aspects of their lives: belonging and solidarity, economic capability, employment security, access to social rights, trust in public systems,and corruption in the public sphere.

Meanwhile, 57% of respondents said their family income allowed them a reasonable standard of living, a figure level with previous surveys. But only 9% said their income provided a high standard of living, down from 16% in 2011. Also, 56% of respondents said economic issues had the greatest impact on them, while 16% said it was the security situation. In 2011 only 39% cited economic issues as the main public concern. This year's survey was conducted in September, before the military escalation in the south and Operation Pillar of Defense.

The survey also indicates a deterioration of working conditions for salaried employees compared to 2011 by non-wage parameters like sick days and vacation days. Only 54% of respondents said the chances of them leaving Israel were remote. "The conference acknowledges solidarity and security in the social framework as the leading elements in forging national resilience," says Uzi Dayan, who founded the Sderot conference.

By Hila Weissberg