Poll: Vast majority of Jewish Israelis think 1 in 3 Arab Israelis identify with ISIS

ByYASSER OKBI/ MAARIV HASHAVUA
February 22, 2015 16:53

Poll finds that a majority of Arabs are afraid to walk around in Jewish areas, and vice versa.

ISIS militant

ISIS militant. (photo credit:REUTERS)

A vast majority of Jewish Israelis (85 percent) believe that every third Arab Israeli identifies with Islamic State, according to a Rafi Smith Poll commissioned by the Achva Academic College.

The “Alienation Index,” in which 400 Jews and 400 Israeli Arabs were questioned, also found that eight of 10 Arab respondents believe Islamic State greatly damages the image of Islam and Muslims.



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“The Alienation Index clearly shows the ‘culture of fear’ that characterizes the Israeli society, which becomes increasingly stronger in times of crisis,” said Prof. Alean Al-Krenawi, the president of the Achva Academic College.

“The Index constitutes a warning sign to the new government that will be formed in the coming weeks – the flammable materials that maintain the flames of fear are stereotypes rooted in a lack of not knowing the other, which increases psychological blocks and accompanies the culture of fear in which we live.


“Therefore, the change must be made on the institutional level, as well as the awareness level and be represented in the public discourse. I hope that the results of the index in the coming years will show a better reality,” he said.

According to the poll, those who identify themselves as right-wing believe that some 40% of Israeli Arabs identify with ISIS, whereas those on the Left believe just 14% identify with the terror organization.

Religious Jewish respondents also answered that 40% of Israeli Arabs identify with ISIS, whereas secular Jews believed it was 20%.

Seventy-seven percent of Jews, meanwhile, believe that last summer’s events significantly hurt Jewish and Arab relations, while 68% of Arabs witnessed a change for the worse.

The survey found that one in three Arabs feels less safe walking around in areas populated with Jews, while 54% of Israeli Jews are afraid to shop or travel in Arab areas, up from 41% last year.

Religious Jews (78%) and right-wing Jews (71%) were most likely to be afraid. Among Arabs, however, 78% answered that they don’t believe Jews are afraid to come to Arab villages.

As compared to 2014, one in three Arabs feels less secure walking around Jewish neighborhoods – 41% of Muslim Arabs said they felt less safe, as opposed to 32% for Christian Arabs and 23% for others.

There was a significant increase in the number of Israeli Arabs who identify with the Israeli flag (55% this year as opposed to 37% in 2014), and a decline in the percentage who identify with the Palestinian flag, also among Muslim Arabs. The number of Muslims who said they identify with the Palestinian standard dropped from 34% in 2014 to just 8% in the current survey.

More than half of the respondents, 52% (up from 38% last year), said they would like to better know their Arab neighbors – six of 10 among secular respondents but just one of three among religious Jews. Two of three right-wing Jews did not want to better know the Arab sector, whereas 80% on the Left do.

More than a third (36%) of Jewish respondents said they do not want their children to learn at mixed schools; just 15% of religious Jews would agree to such an arrangement, whereas 80% of secular Jews would send their children to such a school. On the Right, 35% would agree, versus 98% on the Left. The numbers did not vary significantly from 2014.

A quarter of Jewish respondents, meanwhile, thought most Arab Israelis were loyal to the state of Israel, while a third thought most are not. Less than 10% of religious Jews thought that most Israeli Arabs are loyal to the state, compared to one in three secular Jews. Just 9% of right-wing Jews thought most Arabs were loyal, as opposed to 53% of left-wing Jews. Overall, the number of Jews who believe most Arabs are loyal rose from 14% in 2014 to 25% this year.

Among Arab respondents, 45% think most of the Jewish population believe Israeli Arabs are not loyal to the state.

Some eight in 10 Arab respondents (81%) thought that to better integrate the Arab population into society, an Arab minister must serve in an operational role in the government. Among Jews, however, 66% said there was no need.

Just 11% of religious and 14% of rightwing Jews agreed, as opposed to 42% of secular and 64% of left-wing Jews.

Two-thirds (66%) of Israeli Jews believe there is a chance for coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Israel compared to almost nine of 10 Arabs (87%). Among right-wing Jews, 51% see a chance for coexistence but the number rises to 88% for left-wing Jews.
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