African migrants protest deportations 370.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
A survey published in the current edition of The Jerusalem Report reveals that
an overwhelming majority of Israelis support government plans to send illegal
migrants back to their countries of origin.
The poll was carried out in
late June after a series of demonstrations against the migrant workers in Tel
Aviv, some of which turned violent.
Pollster Dahlia Scheindlin said she
visited the Shapira neighborhood of south Tel Aviv and found veteran residents
who said they were afraid to go out at night because the migrants were
dangerous. But she said accusations of rampant crime among the largely African
community are baseless.
“According to figures compiled by both the police
and the Knesset research department, the crime rate among the migrants is just 2
percent – less than half the 5% crime rate among the general Israeli
population,” Scheindlin said.
In response to the question, “Do you
support or oppose the expulsion of the African infiltrators?” 75% of Israelis,
an unambiguous majority, support the government policy even when it is described
using the loaded term “expulsion.”
“Nor do the respondents back the
government with a heavy heart,” she said. “Fully 45% expressed strong support,
while 30% somewhat support it. Just a small minority of 15% are opposed, with
just 6% strongly opposed.”
“I searched for different attitudes among the
demographic groups of Jewish society,” the pollster said. “Perhaps older people,
who often show softer views on political issues in Israel – or who might
remember the boat people – would express more compassion.”
and 1979, Israel welcomed more than 300 Vietnamese “boat people” escaping the
communist Hanoi regime.) “But here the data is even more striking.
any group within the Jewish population feels very differently. The wide majority
supporting expulsion is highly consistent, no matter what their gender, age or
socioeconomic status. The results were so consistent across demographic groups
that we searched for technical errors. None were found.”
demographic groups show minor variations. A larger percentage of haredim and
national-religious respondents strongly support deportation: 61% and 55%,
respectively. Only 38% of the secular respondents gave this response, and 18% of
secular Jews oppose deportation – nearly twice the rate among the
national-religious and three times as many as among the haredim.
outside the Tel Aviv area also were slightly less supportive of the deportation
plan, but not by much.
“The people in the Sharon and the North are more
removed from the centers of migrant concentration. Perhaps they view the problem
in a less emotional way,” Scheindlin said.