A new survey demonstrates the extent to which Jewish-Arab relations within Israel have been deteriorating in recent months. According to the findings, only 41% of Israeli Arabs support the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, compared to 65.6% in 2003.
The poll predates operation Cast Lead in Gaza, so we can only imagine how the numbers look today.
The study, conducted by a Haifa University professor, reveals that “53.7% of Israeli Arabs recognize the right of Israel to exist as an independent state, compared to 81.1% who recognized that in 2003.”
And even more astonishing, “40.5% of Arab Israelis believe the Holocaust never happened” — or so they say. Prof. Sammy Smooha, who conducted the survey, doesn’t actually believe them. He says, “the 40.5 percent denial rate reflects a protest more than actual disbelief in the Holocaust.”
In a radio interview this morning the scholar seemed sympathetic to the view expressed by the “alienated” population of Arab Israelis. One can, however, trust his statistical skills without having to draw the same conclusions. Israeli Jews will likely be disturbed by these findings — but will not blame themselves, or their state for Arab alienation. There is no shortage of Arab leaders’ offensive statements and Arab mobs’ violent demonstrations to remind them of Jewish estrangement.
The numbers presented today will, no doubt, lead some voters to support the party most focused on suppressing Israel-Arab resistance to Israel’s well being — Avigdor Lieberman’s Israel Beiteinu.
It’s worth remembering that denial is an all too easy form of provocation: Yasir Arafat once denied that a Jewish Temple existed in Jerusalem, saying: “For 34 years they have dug tunnels, the most dangerous of which is the great tunnel. They found not a single stone proving that the Temple of Solomon was there, because historically the Temple was not in Palestine [at all]. They found only remnants of a shrine of the Roman Herod.” This stupidity never ends.