Two thirds of Arab Israelis reject Jews as ‘foreign’ to the Middle East, poll finds

According to a new survey by Haifa University, nearly two thirds of the Arab citizens of Israel believe Jews are a foreign imprint on the Middle East and are destined to be replaced by Palestinians. A similar number believes that Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state. The 2010 Arab Jewish Relations Survey, compiled by Professor Sami Smoocha in collaboration with the Jewish-Arab Center at the University of Haifa, presents what its authors describe as a worrying decline in relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel over the past decade.

According to an advance report by the ‘Jerusalem Post’, the survey found that the percentage of Arab Israelis who believe cash compensation and settlement in a Palestinian state are an alternative solution to the right of return dropped from 72.2 percent in 2003 to 40 percent in 2010. The percentage of respondents supporting the use of violence to advance Arab causes climbed from 6 percent in 1995 to 11.5 percent in 2010.

For the poll, 711 face-to-face interviews with Arab citizens of Israel over the age of 18 as well as 700 telephone interviews in Hebrew and Russian with Jewish Israelis were conducted.

Among Arabs, 71 percent said they blamed Jews for the hardships suffered by Palestinians during and after the ‘Nakba’ in 1948. The survey also found that the percentage of Arabs taking part in ‘Nakba Day’ commemorations rose from 13 percent in 2003 to 36 percent in 2010. In addition, 38 percent of Arabs polled in the survey said they did not believe that millions of Jews had been victims in the Holocaust.

Among Jewish respondents, 58 percent said they did not believe that a disaster of any sort happened to the Palestinians in 1948, and 68 percent expressed their opposition to public ‘Nakba’ commemorations. Moreover, 67 percent of people asked said the Palestinians bore the brunt of the blame for the continued conflict between Jews and Arabs. A third of Jewish respondents supported the cancelation of the voting rights of Arab citizens, and 17 percent said they were opposed to the rights of an Arab minority to live in Israel.

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