Study: Widening Rift between Jews and Arabs

Ad Feedback - HAIFA, Israel - Results of the 2007 Arab-Jewish Relations Index indicates that the comfort zone between Israeli Jews and Arabs is deteriorating.

While 62 percent of Israeli Jews believe the Arab population will eventually "engage in civil disobedience," 64 percent will not set foot in an Arab town.

Likewise, 62 percent of Israeli Jews believe the high birth rate of Arab citizens poses a risk to national security and 80 percent are uncomfortable with Arab support for the "Palestinian cause."

Conversely, 62 percent of the Arab population believes they'll be part of a population transfer and 76 percent believe it's possible that Israel may "sponsor" violence against them.

Here again, 80 percent of the Arab population think their civil rights are at risk and 83 percent fear major land expropriation.

A whopping 64 percent of Arabs holding Israeli citizenship deny Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, up from 62.6 percent in 2006.

Results of the 2007 index will be presented at the two-day Haifa Conference on Social Responsibility, which begins Tuesday.

Conference speakers include Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit (Kadima), Minister for Welfare and Social Services Isaac Herzog (Labor-Meimad), State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, retired Supreme Court Judge Dalia Dorner and Member of Knesset Amir Peretz (Labor-Meimad).

"The index exposes the dimensions of the deep rift between Arabs and Jews," said Professor Sami Sooha, dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Haifa.

"In order to narrow this divide, there is a need to settle the Palestinian question to find a balance between the Jewish and democratic characters of the state," he said.

"Looking at it all in perspective and in comparison to surveys conducted over the years, it's important to note that there isn't a trend toward extremism in the attitudes of the Arab population or entrenchment among the Jewish public," the professor said.

The study polled a representative sample of 700 Jewish and Arab citizens.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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