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Research Question

  1. What must the police do to provide effective policing to 21st-century Israel?

Israel has changed dramatically since its founding, especially in the past two decades. There is a public interest in having the police provide a type and level of service that keeps pace with these changes. Despite relatively low crime rates, the public in Israel still perceives threats to personal security and expresses concern over quality of police service. The Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Finance, and the Israel Police asked the RAND Corporation to conduct a study that would help these organizations address several issues of mutual concern. They requested that RAND address issues of public perceptions and public trust in the police, benchmarking the police against other police organizations, performance measurement, and deterrence and crime prevention. This document reports the outcome of the resulting two-year project.

Please note: Separate files for English and Hebrew are available for download. The printed version of this report includes the Hebrew translation.

Key Findings

The public recognizes some positive elements in police actions and behavior.

  • For example, many sources noted that the Israel Police is effective at fighting many types of crime.
  • A review of media sources found evidence that the Israel Police's efforts to improve its image and to increase public satisfaction are finding their way into the press.

At the same time, the public holds some negative views of the police.

  • The perception persists that the police do not always appear to behave in a professional way and do not adequately provide safety and security.
  • Informants noted that the police typically do not have a "customer service" orientation when dealing with the public (e.g., they arrive late, do not write down information). There was also perceived bias in police behavior, and some described fear of the police.


  • The Israel Police should adopt a procedural justice model of policing to affect public support. This would involve adopting a set of strategies to increase the transparency of police activities and accountability for police performance.
  • The Israel Police should reduce the use of general deterrence and use more focused deterrence to enhance policing outcomes.

The research described in this report was sponsored by the Israel Ministry of Public Security and the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Family Foundation with additional funding from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, the Diane and Guilford Glazer Fund, and Mr. Stanley Gold as donors to the RAND Israel Public Policy Fund. The research was conducted as part of the RAND Israel Initiative in the Safety and Justice Program within RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment.

This report is part of the RAND research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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