A Sense Of Pride

October 17, 2013
BY Maayan Jaffe
Israel Democracy Institute study reveals that Israeli Jews, Arabs are becoming increasingly divided and that a majority of Israeli Jews feel it’s important to close the growing economic gap

How can Israeli-Arabs expect to have a voice if they are unengaged?

“They don’t expect change,” said Hoffman, noting that Arab politicians fail to represent the people. He noted that while Israeli Jews — and with them Israeli politicians — have leaned toward a focus on domestic issues, Arab politicians remain focused on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This does not help the people.

Hoffman explained that there is talk in the government of raising the electoral threshold, making it more difficult for Arab parties (and other niche parties) to gain government seats. He said if that happens, the projected Nov. 2017 Knesset elections could mean even less Israeli-Arab representation.

“They don’t see much hope for real change,” said Pollock.

“Israeli-Arabs are getting higher in numbers, are more educated and know better how to demand their rights as citizens,” said Hermann. “There is a deep divide in Israel bet-ween Jews and Arabs. Unless it will be taken care of, this may cause us much trouble in the future.”

The IDI study, according to Hoffman, is considered nonsectarian and reputable. Hermann said the IDI invests in the study to help inform and then influence policy makers to act in accordance with the people.

“Unless we measure often, we have no idea what is changing on a grassroots level,” said Hermann.

Hermann said the study is privately funded via donations to the IDI and that donors have no influence on the interview questions or methodology.

KEY FINDINGS THE ISRAELI DEMOCRACY INDEX 2013 CHART

Numbers Game

Public opinion on Israel and its character:

Israel’s Overall Situation: 43 percent of Israeli Jews rate Israel’s overall situation as so-so, 37 percent rate it as good, and 18 percent rate it as bad. Among Israeli-Arabs, 39 percent rate it as bad, 31 percent as so-so and 28 percent as good.

Belonging and Pride: 83 percent of Jewish Israelis are proud to be Israeli, and 67 percent feel they’re part of the state and its problems; 40 percent of Israeli-Arabs feel such pride, and 28 percent feel a sense of belonging to the state.

Jewish and/vs. Democratic: Within the Jewish public, 37 percent believe that the Jewish character and democratic character of Israel are equally important, 32 percent assign greater priority to the Jewish element, and 29 percent give greater weight to the democratic nature. At the same time, 75 percent of the Jewish public believes that the State of Israel can simultaneously be both a Jewish state and a democratic state, while 22 percent does not think so.

Public opinion on other issues of interest:

Jewish Majority vs. Entire Land of Israel: 62 percent of Israeli Jews believe it is more important for the State of Israel to maintain a Jewish majority rather than maintain sovereignty on all of the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, while 21 percent disagree; 7 percent believe both are equally important.

Electoral Reform: 68 percent of Jewish respondents think it would be better to have a few large parties rather than many small ones, while 27 percent disagree. Among Arab respondents, 48 percent think it would be better, while 44 percent disagree.

Socioeconomic Gaps: 64 percent of Israelis believe that it is important to narrow socioeconomic gaps even if it means paying more taxes, while 30 percent disagree.

Source:Israel Democracy Institute

Maayan Jaffe is JT editor-in-chief — mjaffe@jewishtimes.com.

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