Population strains

Breaking news (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Breaking news
(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
About 21 percent of Israel's population is Arab, and about 65 percent of its murders occur within the Arab population.
Some 96 percent of the Arab population is Muslim, and only 4 percent Christian.
Christians have, for the most part left, with some of those remaining having housing and education subsidized by their church.
Muslims claim that the Jews have hounded the Christians out of the country, while Jews put the onus on Muslims.
Recently we've been hearing about an Arab young woman, and an Arab couple killed, as well as recriminations about the responsibility of the State. Or the lack of responsibility of the State.
Honor killings occur, with brothers charged with killing sisters who violate the family code. For some, the sanction may come for nothing more than speaking with a man not deemed fit by the girl's father. Those punished by long terms in prison are treated with respect by other Muslim inmates.
Among the issues is the lack of police presence in Arab communities, what may be hundreds of thousands of illegal weapons in that community, and contentious claims about police efforts to place stations and to recruit Arabs in order to police their community.
While polygamy is illegal, it occurs in Muslim families.
Also in the context is a matter of Bedouin women, kept within their families, away from school, and sold as wives by their fathers.
All told, it is at least partly a case of a population left by itself, many of whose members see he State and its police as hostile forces, who refuse to cooperate with investigations and castigate those who respond to police efforts at recruitment.
At the same time there are senior police officers who are Arab, and seek to defend what the police do to place stations in Arab communities and recruit Arabs to the force.
This discussion concerns the Arabs of Israel, not those of Palestinian areas of the West Bank or Gaza.
A partially separate population is the Arabs of Jerusalem. They were offered citizenship when Israel took the area in 1967, but few have accepted it. Yet they are allowed to vote in municipal elections as residents, but few do this. They have Israeli identity cards, and are allowed to travel and work throughout Israel. Many work in Jewish areas of Jerusalem.
Some of their neighborhoods have people who get along, but those who don't. Isaweea and the so called Shuafat refugee camp are each within a couple of hundred meters of these fingers, and are problematic. The Shuafat refugee camp is behind the security barrier, with an armed gate for those entering Jerusalem. Isaweea is not walled off, but there is a police presence at its entrances.
In those cases, there are frequent flights of police helicopters or drones overhead, and occasional entrances of police in force.
In those cases, as well as in the case of Arab cities and towns, there generally is light policing, and the people are left to live their lives with seeming minimum concern for the enforcement of law as done in the Jewish sector.
Yet there is also an Israelization of the Arab population, or at least a part of it.
In medicine, 42 percent of nursing students are Arabs, 38 percent of druggists are Arabs, and 35 percent of the physicians are Arabs..
Arabs remain underrepresented among students in higher education, but their numbers have climbed by close to 80 percent in the most recent seven years.
Arab students accounted for 16.1% of all students in bachelor degree programs last year, up from 10.2% in 2010 . . .  In master’s programs, the percentage more than doubled to 13% from 6.2% while in doctoral program the figure climbed 60% to 6.3% from 3.9%
And we shouldn't overlook anti-Arab expressions in the Jewish sector. The city of Afula has sought to prevent Arabs from acquiring homes or participating in the parks.
The Lerner Sport Center of the Hebrew University serves a number of Arabs as well as Jews, and its staff of cleaners, technicians, and security personnel is largely Arab.
Jewish Home has proposed a law to exile family members of terrorists, which is opposed as ineffectual by security forces and as unacceptable by the Legal Adviser to the Government. The measure has gotten wider support in the wake of a recent increase in attacks, but its future is unsure.
Israel's Arabs live better, with more political and social rights than Muslims in any Muslim country. Many of them seem to appreciate their existence, and show signs of Israelization in their dress and language. Yet Arabs are a minority, and are treated as such by much of the Jewish population. Overall, they don't live as well as the Jews.
All told, it's a mixed bag.
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