Poll: 68% of Jews would refuse to live in same building as an Arab

By Eli Ashkenazi and Jack Khoury

Haaretz

Adar 23, 5766

Sixty-eight percent of Israeli Jews would refuse to live in the same apartment building as an Israeli Arab, according to the results of an annual poll released Wednesday by the Center for the Struggle Against Racism.

The "Index of Racism Towards Arab Palestinian Citizens of the State of Israel," conducted by Geocartographia, revealed on 26 percent of Jews in Israel would agree to live with Arab neighbors in the same building.

Forty-six percent of Jews would refuse to allow an Arab to visit their home while 50 percent would welcome an Arab visitor. Forty-one percent of Jewish support the segregation of Jews and Arabs in places of recreation and 52 percent of such Jews would oppose such a move.

The inclination toward segregation rises as the income level of the poll respondent drops and also as the level of religious observance rises. Support for segregation between Jews and Arabs is also higher among Jews of Middle Eastern origin as opposed to those of European origin.

"Racism is becoming mainstream. When people talk about transfer or about Arabs as a demographic time-bomb, no one raises their voice against such statements. This is a worrisome phenomenon," Bachar Ouda, director of the Center for the Struggle Against Racism, said on Tuesday. The report covered the year 2005 and the center will, in the future, present monthly and bi-annual polls.

The index, edited by Ouda and attorney Ala Khaider, surveys racially-motivated incidents that took place during 2005 and examines the attitudes of Israeli Jews toward Israeli Arabs.

During the course of 2005, 225 racially-motivated incidents directed at Arab citizens were reported to the center or in the media. The center believes that less than 20 percent of attacks or other incidents are ever reported.

Seventy-fire percent of the reports on racist incidents came from institutional sources such as government ministries, government companies or publicly-elected officials.

The poll further revealed that 63 percent of Jewish Israelis agree with the statement, "Arabs are a security and demographic threat to the state." Thirty-one percent of Jews did not agree. Agreement with the statement was strongest among Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews and low-income earners.

Forty percent of Jews believe "the state needs to support the emigration of Arab citizens" and just 52 percent don't agree with the statement.

Thirty-four percent also agreed with the statement that "Arab culture is inferior to Israeli culture." Fifty-seven percent did not agree with the statement.

Half of Israeli Jews express fear or discomfort when hearing people speaking Arabic. Eighteen percent of Jews said they feel hate when hearing Arabic speakers.

Responding to the report, Hadash Chairman MK Mohammed Barakeh said racism against Israeli Arabs "is a direct result of official racist and discriminatory policies" dictated by the government.