Similarly, most respondents report that their income affords them a reasonable standard of living. When we compare the responses with “objective” quantitative information about the situation, we find that the public has a rather good sense, or a rather accurate knowledge, of how resources are allocated for social services and current budget trends. Most people sense that the social service budget has stopped growing and that the budget for in-kind services, in per-capita terms, has actually declined slightly. The public believes that social gaps have widened in the past year and that the budget as it stands today is not helping to narrow them. The respondents rated two areas – health and housing – quite favorably, as shown in their responses that these two areas of social service need less assistance from the state budget than other areas. The main areas that require additional budget expenditures, in the opinion of a majority of respondents, are education and unemployment. The participants also indicated being severely distressed about and dissatisfied with the state of personal security, environmental protection, pension arrangements, and institutional arrangements for the elderly.
This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 2001-2002, Yaakov Kop (editor).