The year 5778 is starting on an optimistic note in Israel, with 84.5 percent of Israelis saying their mood is good or very good and a similar percentage expecting this year to be at least as good personally as 5777, according to the Israel Democracy Institute’s Peace Index.

But pessimism exceeds optimism on socio-economic issues, and 40 percent of survey respondents expect the divisions among groups in Israeli society to widen.

The September Peace Index survey examined Israelis’ views on their personal situations and national affairs, including trust in state institutions and prominent politicians. For example, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has the trust of 43 percent of the public, while Labor leader Avi Gabbay has the confidence of 23.5 percent.

Among institutions, Israelis continue to put the most trust in the Israel Defense Forces (89 percent), followed by the presidency (70 percent), the Supreme Court (54 percent), the prime minister (49 percent) and the rabbinate (28 percent).

Israeli Arabs put the most trust in the Supreme Court (60.5 percent), with only 37 percent trusting the IDF and 16 percent trusting Netanyahu.

According to the Peace Index survey, conducted with 600 Israelis through Sept. 27, members of right-wing political parties and secular Israelis have the strongest feelings of belonging in Israeli society, while the ultra-Orthodox and Arabs feel the least connected.

While 61 percent of the ultra-Orthodox said they felt like a part of Israeli society, only 35 percent of Jewish survey respondents overall said they thought the ultra-Orthodox felt that way.

The full survey findings are at www.peaceindex.org/indexMonthEng.aspx?num=325.