Israel's Jews, Arabs: 2010 Poll

Poll finds that 42% of Israeli Arabs do not enjoy being Israeli citizens, 53% do not trust Jews. But 60% say Jews should have a state.

Maayana Miskin, | updated: 20:30

Arab women in Israel
Arab women in Israel
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Forty-two percent of Israel's Arab citizens are unhappy about the fact that they are citizens of Israel, according to the latest survey on Jewish-Arab relations conducted by Professor Sami Samouha. The latest data, from 2010, was presented Sunday at Haifa University.

Samouha found that more than 62% of Israeli Arabs think Arab rioters in October 2000 acted appropriately, and 14.5% believe violence is a legitimate means to express protest.

Both Jews and Arabs feel threatened by each other, the researcher said. Nearly 80% of Arabs fear massive expropriation of Arab land, and 53.8% say most Jews can not be trusted. One-third fear being harassed by authorities if they protest.

Among Jews, 62.7% fear that the high Arab birth rate poses a threat to Israel's future, and 80% fear Israeli Arab support for the Palestinian Authority. Eighty percent believe that non-Jews wishing to receive citizenship should be required to swear loyalty to Israel as a Jewish, democratic state.

“The Jewish citizens of Israel are willing to accept Arabs and act for their integration into society and for equal rights, but only on the condition that the Arab does not define himself as 'Palestinian' and accepts the Jewish and democratic nature of the state,” Samouha explained.

On a more positive note, 80% of Israeli Arabs and 70% of Jews said they believe that someday Israeli Jews and Arabs will have a good relationship, and 80% say Jews and Arabs should have ties that are based not in necessity – for instance, using the same hospital – but in a mutual desire for a connection between the communities.

Sixty percent of Israeli Arabs believe that Jews are a nation that deserves a state, and 75% of Israeli Jews believe Jewish leaders should avoid extreme statements regarding Arabs.

Samouha has been conducting the annual survey since 1976. For the 2010 poll, researchers spoke to 711 Israeli Arabs face to face, in Arabic, and interviewed 700 Jewish Israelis on the phone in Hebrew or Russian. Bedouin and Druze Israelis were included as “Arab.”

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