A poll released Sunday showed that Israelis prefer, in general, to live among those like them -- as many other groups around the world do as well. According to the poll conducted by the Council of Local Authorities, which includes hundreds of small and medium-sized towns throughout Israel, 54% of Israelis would rather not live next door to foreign workers, while 28% said they did not want to have Hareidi Jews as neighbors.
The poll showed that Israelis have made great progress when it comes to older ethnic tensions that had roiled the state in its early days. The current poll shows, for example, that secular Israelis have no problem living next to religious Zionist Jews, and that Jews of Ashkenazi extraction, along with Jews of Middle Eastern origin, are happy to have each other as neighbors.
However, as a whole, only 2% of Israelis said they would be happy to have Ethiopian immigrants, the newest members of the Israeli “mosaic,” as neighbors.
Commenting on the poll, Shlomo Buchbut, chairman of the Council, said that it showed that “there is no substitute for good leadership on the local level” to ensure that all individuals have the right to live where they want, and that they are responsible residents of their communities."