Relations between Israeli Jews and Arabs deteriorate CIDI

investigation Israel Democracy Institute The relationship between Jews and Israeli Arabs** indicates significant differences in understanding between the two groups.

Downtown Haifa (Photo Credit: Flickr)

The research, conducted in April and August 2021, was led by Israeli professor Tamar Hermann. They studied aspects as diverse as identity, civic engagement, education, the labor market, and law enforcement.

Identity and civic engagement

Only 50% of Arab respondents feel they are part of Israeli society. This is a 7 percent decrease from the previous 2019 study. On the Jewish side, there was a 3 percent increase in people who reported feeling part of Israeli society, from 84 to 87 percent.

Fifty-one percent of Jewish respondents believe that Israeli Arabs want to integrate and join Israeli society, a decrease of 5.5 percent. Among Arab respondents, 80% indicated that they would like it, a slight decrease of 2.5% compared to 2019.

In addition, 33% of Israeli Jews believe that an Israeli Arab who feels Palestinian can also be a loyal citizen of Israel. This percentage is proportional to the political attractiveness of the respondents. 73% of Jews surveyed who describe themselves as leftists believe in loyalty to Israel, while 19% of most right-wing respondents agree.

Screen capture from the Israel Democracy Institute study.

Teaching Arabic

Regarding education, the views of both Israeli Jews and Arabs differ. 78% of Israeli Arabs want the Arab education system to have discretion in designing curricula in Arab schools. Jewish respondents thought otherwise. For example, 63% indicated that they oppose it.

Views of Israeli Jews and Arabs differ greatly when it comes to integrating historical and cultural aspects of Arab society into the Israeli school curriculum. While 92.5% of Arab respondents liked this, only 44% of Jews supported it.

Screen capture from the Israel Democracy Institute study.

Feelings of inequality in the labor market

The study also found that Israeli Arabs feel vulnerable in the Israeli labor market. For example, 81 percent of them believe that even if they were more suitable, Jewish citizens would be more likely to get the job or be accepted into a study program.

Israeli Arabs make up 22% of Israeli society. However, their proportion in leadership positions is much lower. Jewish and Arab respondents have a different interpretation of this. The majority of Arab respondents explain this difference because “the Jews have a desire to distance the Arabs from positions of power.” The majority of Jewish respondents (34%) say that the reason for this is that “Arab citizens do not want to enter the civil service.”

Screen capture from the Israel Democracy Institute study.

Crime within Arab society

Israeli Jews and Arabs also offer different explanations for the high crime rate within the Arab community. Two explanations are often mentioned. 58% of Arabs and 30% of Jews believe that the Israeli government invests little in crime prevention.

However, 36.5% of Jewish respondents blame Arab leaders for not cooperating sufficiently with the police to fight crime. 17% of Israeli Arabs agree.

Screen capture from the Israel Democracy Institute study.

The relationship between Jews and Israeli Arabs

The survey also found that both societies had a negative view of each other compared to 2019. Both Israeli Jews and Arabs noted a decrease in their willingness to accept each other as personal friends. The study also shows a sharp decrease in the willingness to accept each other as neighbours. On the Jewish side, this willingness decreased from 58 to 45 percent, while among Israeli Arabs it decreased from 89 to 64 percent.

It is also remarkable that both societies experience their interrelationships differently. For example, 30% of Israeli Arabs said their relationship with Jews is good to very good, while 9% of Jews surveyed described their relationship with Arab citizens as good to very good. Compared to the previous study, a decrease of 1% was observed on the Arab side and 11% on the Jewish side.

Additionally, 50% of Jewish respondents and 20% of Israeli Arabs said they support the two groups living separately from each other. This is an increase of 4 percent on the Jewish side and 3 percent on the Arab side. However, Jewish groups had different views on the subject. For example, 85 percent of ultra-Orthodox Jews agreed with the statement, while 32 percent of secular Jews shared this view.

Finally, 65% of Jewish respondents and 13% of Israeli Arabs said they would prefer to avoid each other’s residential areas. This is an increase of 7% on the Jewish side and 5% on the Arab side. In addition, 37% of Jewish respondents indicated that Israeli Arabs should only purchase land in their community, while 18% believed that Arabs should not own land inside Israel at all.

Screen capture from the Israel Democracy Institute study.

You can read the entire report over here read.

** The term Israeli Arabs
This term is used – in general and in this paper – to refer to the group of Arab residents of Eretz Israel who are Israeli citizens. They make up about 22% of Israeli society. Many of them are, but not everyone considers themselves Palestinian. Most indicate that they have a “multi-layered identity,” in which both Israeli and Palestinian Arabs play a role, with different priorities. In some political circles – especially in the West – this is fought and they just want to use the term Palestinian. Researchers and CIDI have number political intentions.

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