Is­raeli Arabs ‘would not live in a new Pales­tine’

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY NATHAN JEF­FAY HAIFA

A CLEAR MA­JOR­ITY of Is­raeli Arabs do not want to be part of a Pales­tinian state, ac­cord­ing to a new sur­vey.

Some 64 per cent are against a set­tle­ment with the Pales­tini­ans which would in­volve re­draw­ing bor­ders in or­der to put some Is­raeli Arab towns in Pales­tine.

The ma­jor­ity ex­plain that jobs and liv­ing stan­dards are bet­ter in Is­rael and six per cent say they re­ject the idea be­cause they have a sep­a­rate iden­tity to Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza.

The di­rec­tor of the poll, Shi­b­ley Tel­hami, a fel­low of the Wash­ing­ton­based Sa­ban Cen­tre for Mid­dle East Pol­icy, said that viewed over­all, the re­sults present a pic­ture of Is­raeli Arabs as “caught be­tween mul­ti­ple iden­ti­ties — Arab, Pales­tinian and Is­raeli”.

On the one hand, re­spon­dents were clearly un­easy with their Is­raeli iden­tity. Poll­sters asked Is­raeli Arabs to name two coun­tries they think “pose the big­gest threat to you”. The top two re­sults were Amer­ica and Iran, cho­sen by 36 per cent and 35 per cent of re­spon­dents re­spec­tively. Third place, with 34 per cent, was Is­rael.

Fifty six per cent said their rights in Is­rael are in de­cline and only 19 per­cent agreed that Is­rael has a right to call it­self a Jewish state.

They get their in­for­ma­tion on the world from pro-Is­lamist sources: Al Jazeera is the most pop­u­lar TV chan­nel for news, watched by 48 per cent of re­spon­dents, while 13 per cent cited Hizbol­lah-run Al-Ma­nar as their sec­ond choice. The world leader they ad­mire most is Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Re­cep Er­do­gan, who has been in con­flict with Is­rael re­cently due to his harsh crit­i­cism of Is­rael since the Gaza war. In sec­ond place is Hizbol­lah sec­re­tarygen­eral Has­san Nas­ral­lah.

But on the other hand, the poll pro­vided some in­di­ca­tions that Is­raeli Arabs are keen on their coun­try and its Jewish cit­i­zens, and ab­sorb some of their opin­ions.

In­ter­per­sonal re­la­tions be­tween Arabs and Jews ap­pear to be less strained than many pre­sume — 60 per cent of Is­raeli Arabs have Jewish friends and more than half of th­ese are on vis­it­ing terms.

While at­ti­tudes to­wards Amer­ica were neg­a­tive, they were less neg­a­tive than among Arabs else­where, in­di­cat­ing that the views of Jewish-Is­raelis have some in­flu­ence. Prior to polling Is­raeli Arabs, Dr Tel­hami polled Arabs in Egypt, Jor­dan, Saudi Ara­bia, UAE, Morocco and Le­banon.

Over­all in th­ese coun­tries, less than five per cent of re­spon­dents were very favourable to­wards Amer­ica; 15 per cent were some­what favourable; 31 per cent were some­what un­favourable and 46 per cent were very un­favourable.

Among Is­raeli Arabs, 20 per cent were favourable, 21 per cent some­what favourable; 15 per cent some­what un­favourable and 32 per cent very un­favourable.

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