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Israeli Attitudes - Jews and Arabs

First Publish: 5/16/2003, 3:44 PM

Police are deploying extra reinforcements in the area known as the "triangle" - a region with a majority of Arab citizens - after it was announced that demonstrations were planned for today, following Islamic prayer services in Umm el-Fahm. The protests are in response to the recent arrests of 16 officials of the Israeli Islamic Association, accused of funding terrorist activities. The arrests were the result of a two-year undercover investigation. In Jerusalem, the police, including special tactical forces, prepared for violence on the Temple Mount following Islamic prayers. To forestall violence, no males under the age of 40 are being permitted on the Mount today.

Israeli Jewish attitudes to the Arab minority reflect the tense relations, including Israeli Arab involvement in anti-Israeli terrorism, between the communities. In a detailed survey carried out by the non-profit Israel Democracy Institute last month, the overwhelming majority of Israelis believe that decisions affecting the future of the State of Israel should only be made based on the support of a majority of Jewish Israelis. Furthermore, 57% of those surveyed are in favor of measures that would
encourage Arab emigration from the state. 53% openly stated that they oppose absolute equality for Israel's Arab citizens. The survey showed that 77% of Israelis believe that democracy is the best possible system of government. The latter result is a dramatic drop from the 90% that supported that premise in 1999, before the PLO terrorist war. The survey was conducted in April, among 1,208 Israeli adults, from all sectors of the population.