Bintel Blog

Impressed by Israel, Not Sold on the Holocaust?

By Nathan Jeffay

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Earlier this month, the Bintel Blog reported that Israeli Arabs were overwhelmingly impressed by the achievements of the State of Israel and keen to continue living here. It’s indicative of the increasingly complex identity of Israeli Arabs that new research out shows that the percentages who are prepared to recognize Israel as a Jewish state is taking a sharp downturn.

Even more noteworthy is the fact that two out of every five Israeli Arabs claims that the Holocaust never occurred.

Haifa University’s index of Arab-Jewish Relations in Israel carries out an annual survey of attitudes among the Israeli Arab public. When it was launched in 2003, 65.6% recognized Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state. This year, the percentage dipped to 41%.

The percentage claiming this year that the Holocaust never happened — 41% — is a sharp increase from the 26% who made this claim in the 2006 survey. Some 37% of those denying the Holocaust in this year’s survey are products of post-secondary school and higher education.

In other statistics, 53.7% of Israeli Arabs recognize Israel’s right to exist as an independent state, compared to 81.1% in 2003. Just 56% agree that the right of return of Arab refugees should only be to a future Palestinian state — and not to Israel — compared to 72.2% in 2003.

Some 41.4% said that they participated in the past year in protests, compared to 28.7% who did so in 2003.

Regarding the use of violence, 12.6% support use of all means, including violence, in the struggle to improve their situation, compared to 5.4% in 2003.

The survey also indicated that Israeli Arabs are becoming less enthusiastic about social interaction with Israeli Jews. The percentage opposed to the idea of having a Jewish neighbor has almost doubled since 2003, from 27.2% to 47.3%.


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