The percentage of Israeli Arabs who recognize Israel’s right to continue to exist as a Jewish and democratic state rose in 2013, according to a study by Prof. Sammy Smooha of the University of Haifa.
More Israeli Arabs identify themselves as such, instead of as Palestinian, found the study, which was a product of a joint venture between the university and the Israel Democracy Institute.
The report stated that, contrary to popular belief, Jews’ opinions about Israeli Arabs are not undergoing radicalization but demonstrate long-term stability.
While over the past 10 years, Israeli Arabs have become more extreme in their views toward the state and its Jewish majority, the results of the study in 2013 show a change in trend. For example, 53 percent of Israeli Arabs recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, compared to 47 percent in 2012.
Sixty-four percent in 2013 think that Israel is a good place to live, compared to 59 percent a year ago.
A major shift was found this year in the number of Arabs – 43 percent – who favor their Israeli-Arab identity over a Palestinian one. This compared to 33 percent in last year’s study.
The study also found that 52 percent think an intifada should be launched if the situation of Arabs in Israel does not improve significantly, compared to 58 percent the previous year.
Importantly, 56 percent justify an intifada by Negev Beduin if the government plan to resettle them is passed into law and implemented.
The complete study is to be presented on Tuesday. Conducted in 2013 and titled “The Index of Arab-Jewish Relations in Israel,” it is based on an annual opinion survey that has been carried out by Smooha since 2003.
The survey is based on 700 face-to-face interviews with a national representative sample of Arab citizens and Jews aged 18 and up.
In regard to the Jewish public, 74 percent recognize the right of Arabs to live as a minority with full civil rights, compared to 75 percent in 2012.
Sixty-seven percent of Jews see the state first as a Jewish state and then as a democratic one.
The study also found that 71 percent of Israeli Arabs fear serious damage to their rights, versus 78 percent in 2012.
Smooha said the weakening of the tendency of negative Israeli-Arab opinion could be due to the fact that peace talks were ongoing and because of the release of Palestinian prisoners.
Also, Arabs’ disappointment with the Arab Spring demonstrated the benefits of living in Israel.
In addition, the campaign for Israel to withdraw from Israeli-Arab towns and turn them over to a future Palestinian state “forced the Arabs to face the threat of disconnection from the state and strengthened their connection to it,” he said.
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