Poll: Israeli Arabs happy with Hamas win

Vast majority believe Israel has right to exist as a Jewish state.

hamas campaign 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
hamas campaign 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Two-thirds of Israeli Arabs were pleased with Hamas's win but even more believe the State of Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, according to a survey presented at a conference Thursday about the trends of the Arab voters at the University of Haifa. But despite their claims of support for a Jewish state, "What they don't agree to is a Zionist state, meaning a state which has the right to preserve its Jewish majority," Prof. Sammy Smooha, one of three sociologists who made the poll, told The Jerusalem Post. "They accept there is a Jewish majority but not that the state has a policy and law of return to preserve and increase the majority." The poll was taken by the Jewish-Arab Center and the School of Political Sciences at the University of Haifa in the first week of March - a day after the attack by an emotionally distraught Jewish man on the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, which police later said was not nationalistically motivated. It surveyed 500 Arab voters who voted in the last elections. The results showed that 69.5% believed that the state of Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, were not different from previous years, said Smooha. "We got the same results to that question in October 2003 and October 2004." Only 3.4% of the 500 Arab citizens of Israel polled by phone felt that the Israeli government treats them as equal citizens. Some 49% said the government treats them as second-class citizens and 24% as hostile citizens who don't deserve equal rights. Dr. Assad Ghanem told the audience of some 100 people that discrimination against Arabs and the inability of Arab MKs to change that through the Knesset was the reason for the increasing trend of Arab voters staying away from the ballot boxes on election day. Nevertheless, according to the Haifa University poll, that trend has been stopped, and more than two-thirds of the Israeli Arabs eligible to vote will do so. The result will be more mandates for the Arab parties and less for the Zionist parties. All three of the Arab lists will pass the raised threshold and enter the Knesset. Balad will get four mandates, Hadash will get three, while the joint list of UAL and MK Ahmed Tibi's Taal will get two. If the poll is correct, Taleb A-Sanaa, the Beduin MK from the Negev who is ranked No. 3 in UAL-Taal, will not get a seat and there will be no Beduin representation in the Knesset. However, it is also possible that the turnout on election day will result in no party entering the Knesset with just two MKs. According to the University of Haifa poll, 17% of the Arab voters would vote for Zionist parties, the equivalent of the two mandates. One mandate would go to Labor and half a mandate to Kadima.