40% of Israeli Jewish students don't want an Arab teacher - survey

A new survey by the Levinsky-Wingate Academic Center has found that 40% of Jewish Israeli students would be opposed to an Arab teacher working at their school.

A school classroom is seen empty in Jerusalem's Beit Hakerem. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
A school classroom is seen empty in Jerusalem's Beit Hakerem.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

A new survey from the Levinsky-Wingate Academic Center seems to show a lack of tolerance among students towards educators from different backgrounds, with 40% of Israeli students being opposed to having an Arab teacher at their school.

There was also a decrease in tolerance towards Arabs in the previous academic year, from 29.2% in 2020-21 after the Operation Guardian of the Walls operation to 22.9% in 2021-22 after the terrorist attacks in March of the same year.

However, an ultra-Orthodox teacher working at a secular school had a much higher level of support (68%).

"In light of the tensions in Israeli societies between religious and secular Israelis and between Jews and Arabs, it's important to raise teachers' awareness about this issue and give them the tools they need to create an optimal environment of tolerance between Israel's different cultural backgrounds."

Prof. Michal Beller

Are Israel's students becoming more intolerant?

The survey participants consisted of 201 high school students, who are a representative sample of Israeli Jewish students in grades 10-12.

 View of an empty school at in Tel Aviv, as schools begin at 10 A.M. following a strike of the Teachers Union, on June 19, 2022.  (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90) View of an empty school at in Tel Aviv, as schools begin at 10 A.M. following a strike of the Teachers Union, on June 19, 2022. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

The survey itself was conducted after the wave of terrorist attacks in Israel in March 2022.

Overall, the survey noted a strong correlation with religious levels. The higher one's level of religiosity, the greater one would be opposed to being taught by a teacher of a different cultural background, with a haredi teacher working at a secular school being an exception.

"In light of the tensions in Israeli society between religious and secular Israelis and between Jews and Arabs, it's important to raise teachers' awareness about this issue and give them the tools they need to create an optimal environment of tolerance between Israel's different cultural backgrounds," noted Levinsky-Wingate Academic Center president Prof. Michal Beller.