(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on Monday said that the Arab-Israeli community was not a marginal group, but an "integral part of this country."
Rivlin was responding to a report published by the Israel Democracy Institute which said that 53 percent of Israel's Jewish population supported encouraging Arabs to emigrate from Israel.
The 2009 Israeli Democracy Index, marking 20 years since the mass immigration from the Former Soviet Union, showed that 77% of immigrants supported the idea, compared with 47% of the veteran public.
Also on the subject, during a convention at Beit Hanassi (The President's Residency), President Shimon Peres said that a people that aspired to be a light unto the nations must allow for coexistence.
The survey also showed that only 33% of veteran Jews were accepting of the inclusion of Arab parties in the government, in comparison with just 23% of immigrants. Also, only 27% of respondents objected to the statement that there should be "a Jewish majority in decisions relating to the fate of the country." In 2003, 38% objected to this statement, indicating increasingly broad support for reducing the political rights of Israel's Arab minority.
In addition, 41% of veteran Jews admitted that "Israeli Arabs face greater discrimination than Jewish Israelis," compared to 28% of immigrants holding this view.
The survey also showed that Arab citizens of Israel were the most detached from Israeli politics, with only 39% of them expressing any political interest.
The survey was held in March 2009 among a representative sample of the adult Israeli population. The sample was carried out by Mahshov, and included 1,191 respondents, interviewed in three languages: Hebrew, Arabic and Russian. The sampling error was 2.8%.