Jewish and arab Arab customers at a Rami Levy supermarket in Jerusalem..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
A slight majority of Arab Israelis said they would participate in national service if they felt the services they received were comparable to those received by poor Israeli Jews, a new Statnet research institute poll found.
The poll was commissioned by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) and included a representative sample of 500 low-income Israeli Arabs. The survey had a margin of error of five percent.
“The survey shows Israel should be caring more for its Arab citizens and investing in them the same way it does with its most vulnerable Jewish citizens, not only for moral reasons but also to counter the threat of political extremism and to promote patriotism. If we don’t invest in Israel’s Arab citizens, Islamic State will,” said the Fellowship’s founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.
“We found a direct correlation between Israeli Arabs’ feelings of being treated equally to Jews and their sense of belonging to society and even their willingness to serve,” added Eckstein. “If we can change the numbers, we can avoid Israeli Arabs becoming a strategic threat.”
The survey found that 67% of low-income Israeli Arabs feel discriminated against and 71% feel that low-income Israeli Jews receive more state aid than they do.
Interestingly, 54% said the government and Arab MKs do not care about their interests.
Also, 47% of those who felt they were being treated equally to poor Israeli Jews feel strongly connected to Israel. Similarly, while only 38% of Israeli Arabs who feel they lack equal rights in Israel say they would perform national service, 58% of those who feel they are treated equally would do voluntary service.
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Yousef Makladeh, CEO of Statnet.co.il told The Jerusalem Post
on Sunday that the poll “was very emotional for his workers and they had to stop some interviews in the middle because it was too hard to continue.”
For example, he said that one poor Arab handicapped man began to cry on the phone that he lacks money and lives on only 1,500 NIS from the government. An old lady, who has 10 children who do not support her, began crying in the interview and said she can hardly make it to the store. The Statnet interviewer tried to comfort her.
Makledeh said the results also found that more than 100,000 Arabs say they do not have the ability to buy medicine, clothing, or food.
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