People shop on Salah a-Din Road near the Damascus Gate in east Jerusalem.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Fifty-eight percent of east Jerusalem residents support the idea of voting in the municipal election, according to a survey conducted by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
In the past, the vast majority of Arab residents in Jerusalem have boycotted municipal elections after Israel applied its sovereignty across the area in 1967.
The residents have done so as part of a protest against the Israeli authorities. Some maintain that taking part in the elections is in fact “normalization of ties with the occupier,” and an act of acknowledgment of Israeli sovereignty.
In the survey, residents were asked to state their opinion on this statement: “Some people say that the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem should promote their interests and vote for their representatives in the municipal elections.”
Fifty-eight percent said that they support the statement. Only 13.7% said that they object it to it and 28.3% said that they neither support nor object it.
The survey, which was conducted by Prof. Dan Miodownik, the director of the university’s Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations, and Noam Brenner, a PhD student in the political science department, along with the Israel-Palestine: Creative Regional Initiatives organization. It was funded by the European Union in context of a project titled “Building a Vision for the Future of Jerusalem.”
For the survey, 612 Arab residents of east Jerusalem were interviewed face-to-face throughout January. The margin of error of the poll was about 3.96%, and the response rate was 82%.
Speaking with The Jerusalem Post
on Monday, Miodownik stressed that this data does not necessarily mean that the turnout in the October 30 election will be 58% among east Jerusalem’s Arab residents.
“We did not ask whether one would take part in the municipal election,” he said. “We conducted a long survey in which people were asked questions on how they feel about the city, about their neighborhood, what do they like and how do they so other groups [in the city], and in that context, people said that [Arabs] should elect their representatives.”
However, Miodownik highlights that the ratio between the supporters and the objectors is 4-1.
“It is a big gap,” he highlighted.
Miodownik said that the importance of the survey was seen after it was first published a month ago, and attracted reactions from both those who support and object it.
“By that, we can understand that people are taking [participating in the election] seriously,” he said. “If not, no one would be interested in it.”
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