Relations between Jewish, Arab populations in Israel deteriorating, says survey

A survey published on Wednesday has revealed that tensions between Israel’s Jewish and Arab populations have significantly increased in the last two years. According to the findings, there has been a significant increase in the number of Israeli Jews who oppose to coexistence with Arabs and a decrease in the number of Israeli Arabs recognizing Israel’s right to exist.
Israeli Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90

The relations between Israel’s Jewish and Arab populations are deteriorating, according to a survey published on Wednesday. The Index of Arab-Jewish relations in Israel was conducted by researchers at Israel’s Haifa University, who found that tensions between the populations had significantly risen in the past two years.

According to the findings, there has been a significant increase in the number of Israeli Jews who oppose coexistence with Arabs. In 2017, only 51.6% of the Jews were willing in to have Arab students in their children’s schools, compared to 57.5% in 2015. In addition, around 29% of Israeli Jews said they were not open to having an Arab friend, the highest figure recorded in this category since the university began its surveys in 1976. The percentage of Jews who believed in the right of the Arab population to live in Israel as a minority with full civil rights has decreased from 79.7% in 2015 to 73.8% in 2017.

Meanwhile, only 58.7% of Israeli Arabs recognized Israel’s right to exist, as opposed to 65.8% in 2015, the survey found. In addition, the Arab population’s recognition of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state has decreased from 53.6% in 2015 to 49.1% in 2017.

Despite this trend, 77.4% of Israeli Arabs said they would not wish to live in a future Palestinian state, compared to 72.2% in 2015. 60% said they preferred living in Israel over any other country, up from 58.8% in 2015.

Sociologist Sammy Smooha of Haifa University and his team questioned about 700 Arabs and 700 Jews throughout Israel to compile the results. Professor Smooha, a recipient of the Israel Prize, researches the divisions in Israeli society and specializes in ethnic relations.

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