Survey by Haifa University shows over two-thirds of Arab-Israelis are resigned to living in a Jewish state, but 63% don’t think it’s fair
Some 80% of Arabs living in Israel blame Jews for the Nakba, but 60% of them are resigned to Israel as a state with a Jewish majority, the Index of Arab-Jewish Relations for 2011, conducted by Prof. Sami Samuha of the University of Haifa shows.
The full results of the survey, which Samuha has run annually for the last 30 years, are due to be announced at a university conference on Thursday.
Despite the fact that most of the respondents accepted Israel as a majority Jewish state, 63% of Arabs polled believe that it was not fair. Seventy-three percent of Arab respondents said they believe that the government treated Arabs as second-class citizens undeserving of equality.
Moreover, 68.3% of Arabs polled said they preferred to live in Israel than in other countries. Slightly more than half (56.5%) accepted Israel as a Hebrew-speaking state, and 58% accepted Shabbat as the day of rest.
Asked whether the respondents preferred Israel as a land or as a national entity, Samuha said that the results were mixed: “On one hand there is a connection with the land and on the other hand there is the acknowledgement of convenience, freedom and stability in the State of Israel.
“In Israel there are a lot of benefits and a modern way of life, as well as economic and political stability. You can’t compare the lives of Arabs in the Galilee to that of Arabs in Palestine, Lebanon, or Egypt. There is also the element that in Israel there is no concern of an Islamist takeover.”
Samuha pointed to responses that showed that 71% of Israel Arabs felt that Israel was a good place to live, while 60% said they felt it was a home and a homeland.
Samuha said that the results of the survey over time show that intelligence and common sense prevail over extremist positions, and added that the long-term results showed pragmatism and acceptance alongside political polarization.
However, extremism was not absent from the survey. Nineteen percent of Israeli Arabs denied Israel’s right to exists, as opposed to 11% who expressed a similar view in 2003. Fifty-seven percent of Israeli Arabs said that they would support a referendum that defined Israel as a “Jewish, democratic state that promised full civil rights to Arabs,” compared to the 70.9% who said they would support such a referendum in 2006.
“Despite the chasm, there is agreement between the Jewish majority and the Arab majority about living together in the state of Israel, so there is still a base for a common society.”
The survey comprised 1,400 respondents, half Jewish and half Arab. The survey results that indicated the best relations between Jews and Arabs were recorded in 1995, the year former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated.
By Ahiya Raved