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Poll: Just 37% of Israelis say human rights groups should operate freely

Israeli people gather to protest against Israeli security forces' violences in Isawiya district of Eastern Jerusalem on 7 December 2019. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]
Israeli people gather to protest against Israeli security forces' violences in Isawiya district of Eastern Jerusalem on 7 December 2019. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]

In a major international survey, only 37 per cent of Israelis said human rights groups should be able to operate freely, as reported by the Times of Israel.

The 34-nation poll, conducted by the US-based Pew Research Centre from May-October 2019, focused on views of, and support for, democracy and democratic institutions.

Support in Israel is “significantly lower than in most countries for freedom of expression, including an uncensored press, internet freedom and freedom for human rights groups to operate freely.”

As the report noted, “unlike in most nations polled, support for freedom of speech in Israel declined between 2015 and 2019”, with only 51 per cent saying “it is very important that people can say what they want without government censorship” (down from 58 per cent four years ago).

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Support in Israel for “internet freedom” also fell from 51 per cent in 2015 to just 40 per cent.

Overall, support in Israel for a number of different characteristics of a healthy democracy were lower than the total median, including freedom of press – backed by 46 per cent of Israelis compared to a 64 per cent global median.

Most alarmingly, “the level of support in Israel for freedom for human rights groups to operate freely” was at just 37 per cent – “the lowest among all the 34 countries surveyed”.

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