New survey reveals greater interest among Arab electorate (JERUSALEM POST) By DAVID RUDGE 12/18/02)
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In sharp contrast to recent polls, a survey by the University of
Haifa has revealed that nearly 71 percent of Arabs eligible to vote
intend to exercise their democratic right in the upcoming Knesset
The latest research, by the university´s Prof. Sammy Smooha and Dr.
As´ad Ghanem with the institutes for Israel Democracy, Jerusalem, and
for the Promotion of Democracy in the Arab Minority, also found that
91.6% of those interviewed favored increased participation of Arabs
in the elections.
The survey was conducted among 700 people during the months of
October and November. The margin of error is 3.7%.
Other polls in the past few months had shown a marked apathy towards
the elections by the Arab electorate and indicated that the voter
turnout would be less than 60 per cent. The findings of the
University of Haifa survey are almost exactly the opposite -- showing
that interest in the elections is high, despite reported
disappointment among Arab voters with the lack of accomplishment of
According to the findings, had elections been held at the time of the
survey, Jewish parties would altogether have received around a
quarter of the Arab vote Labor 12%, Meretz 8.5%, and 4.5% for the
Likud the equivalent of three Knesset seats.
The vote for the Arab parties would have been 29.9% for Hadash´s
joint list with MK Ahmed Tibi, 21.1% for the United Arab List (UAL),
and 19.1% for the Balad party headed by MK Azmi Bishara.
On this basis, Hadash would be the biggest party with four Knesset
seats, compared to three in the 1999 elections, while the UAL would
drop from five to three and Balad would retain its two seats. Overall
the Arab parties would lose one seat, down from 10 to nine, compared
to their representation in the outgoing Knesset.
The university survey also found that the trend
towards "Palestinization" among Israeli Arabs has stopped, apparently
due to disappointment over the current violence.
This was highlighted in a question on how Israeli Arabs defined their
identity. Smooha noted that in 1995, some 53.6% had described
themselves as Israeli Arabs and not Palestinians. This dropped to
35.8% in 1999 and 34.2% in 2001.
The latest survey found that 44.7% defined themselves as Israeli
Arabs and not Palestinians, despite ongoing dissatisfaction with
government policies towards the Arab community since the government
of the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Some 84.6% of the interviewees said the government headed by Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon treated Arabs as second class citizens at best.
The full findings of the survey are to be unveiled at a conference at
the University of Haifa on Thursday on "The Future of the Political
Representation of the Arab Minority in Israel."
(© 1995-2002, The Jerusalem Post 12/18/02)
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