´Over half of Israel’s Arab’s accept Jewish state´ (JERUSALEM POST) By RUTH EGLASH 06/08/12)
JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-Top
More than half of Israel’s Arab population has grown to accept life
in a Jewish, democratic state, even though the overwhelming majority
still holds Jews responsible for inflicting a Nakba – or catastrophe –
on the Palestinian people in 1948.
According to the results of the annual Jewish-Arab Relations Index,
which has been carried out by Professor Sammy Smooha from Haifa
University’s Jewish-Arab Center for the past 30 years, this year’s
survey shows that along with a deteriorating view of the policies of
the Jewish state towards its Arab minority, some 58 percent of Arab
Israelis have accepted life in Israel.
“I call it the resignation and reconciliation of Arabs in a Jewish
democratic country,” Smooha told The Jerusalem Post Thursday, just
before revealing the full results of the survey at a conference at
the university. “This year we asked respondents if they accepted the
living situation as opposed to whether they prefer it.”
He explained that while most of those questioned for the survey said
they would prefer a bi-national state where they rights were
recognized and where they did not feel discriminated against, the
majority said they were willing to accept life in a country where
most people are Jewish.
“Their life keeps going even though they feel some things are not
justified. They know they can’t change the situation democratically
and they know they can’t change the situation in a non-democratic
way,” observed Smooha, adding that the views held by the Arab public
do not necessarily concur with those held by the Arab leadership.
“There is a gap between the two,” he explained. “The Arab public just
wants to live its life, they know there are good things about living
in this country. It is a country that upholds the law, there is a
welfare system and its modern.”
Asked about the 42% who did not express an acceptance of living in
Israel with the conditions as they are, Smooha said that they would
most likely prefer either a fully bi-national Jewish-Arab state or to
be living in a Palestinian country.
Among the other findings of the survey, which used a sample of 702
Jews and 715 Arab, the Index showed that 80% of Arab Israelis still
hold Jewish leaders responsible for what happened in 1948 when Israel
was created and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled their
homes or were displaced.
The survey found that some 38% of Arab Israelis participate annually
in events commemorating the Nakba and 76% feel that laws such as the
Nakba Law, which forbids commemorating the event, weaken their faith
in coexistence with the Jews.
In addition to the 58% of those who accept Israel as a democratic
Jewish state, a similar number (56.6%) said they accept that Israel’s
dominant language is Hebrew and 58% said they had no problem with
Saturday being Israel’s day of rest. Nearly 70% also said they would
prefer to live in Israel than in any other country in the world.
While this seems encouraging, Smooha pointed out that looking back
over the years of the study, negative views towards the state seem to
have grown. While in this year’s index 19% of Israeli Arabs said they
still deny Israel’s right to exist, that number was only 11% in 2003.
Additionally, the index found that 63.5% of the Arabs said they
believe that it is not justified for Israel to maintain a Jewish
majority and 73% claimed that as Arabs, they are treated as second
class citizens or are viewed as citizens that do not deserve
equality. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 06/08/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY