A huge majority of Israelis (95 percent) believe that at least one population group in Israel is subject to forms of racism, according to a survey released on Monday.
The survey was initiated as part of the “No Racism in our Schools” campaign by civil society organizations and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation ahead of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21.
According to the survey, when Israelis were asked which population groups suffered from racism, if any, 79% replied that Ethiopians suffered from racist attitudes and 68% said they believed the Arab population was subject to racism. More than two-fifths (41.8%) named the ultra-Orthodox population and 34% said Sephardi Jews and immigrants from the former Soviet Union suffered from racism.
Only 4.4% of respondents believed there was no racism in Israel toward any of these groups.
Furthermore, only 10.3% of the respondents said they believed the Israeli government was acting adequately toward reducing racism. A clear majority (70.2%) believed the government was not doing enough to combat racism and 19.5% of the respondents believed the government actually encouraged racism.
The findings indicate that half of the respondents half of all Israelis believe the most effective way to combat racism is through education and raising awareness within the education system. Additionally, almost one-third (29.8%) believe that raising awareness among the general public is the best way to eliminate racism, and one-fifth (20.2%) feel this would best be achieved through legislation.
As such, 58.4% of the respondents said the Education Ministry needed to take on the responsibility of reducing racism, while 21.5% said this was a task for the Prime Minister’s Office. Eight-and-a-half percent said the Welfare Ministry should tackle the issue, and 6.4% said it should fall on the Internal Security Ministry.
Furthermore, 86.7% of respondents said they expected the education system to proactively and continuously educate youth against racism, while 1.1% said they believed there was no room for incorporating this issue into the classroom.
The survey was conducted by Panel4all on February 17 to March 8 via an Internet questionnaire given to 610 adult respondents from the country’s Jewish and Arab populations.
The findings reflect a +/- 4.1% margin of error.
Among the organizations involved in the “No Racism in our Schools” campaign are the Coalition Against Racism in Israel, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Shatil and the Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews.