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Israeli Pollsters Begin Taking Notice of Views of Israeli Arabs

Israeli pollsters have begun taking notice of public opinion in the Arab sector for the first time. They have predictably found that the vast majority of Israeli Arabs say they are discriminated against, and somewhat surprisingly they have discovered that most Arabs blame both Jewish and Arab students for clashes in the universities.

The man responsible for the Arab research section of the Dahaf Research Institute, headed by Dr. Mina Zemah, is Shmuel Toledano, former Arab affairs adviser to several Prime Ministers.

The first poll conducted among 746 Arabs who form a representative sample of the Israeli Arab population (not including the West Bank, the Gaza Strip or the Golan Heights) showed that 44.7 percent said that both Jewish and Arab students were to be blamed for campus clashes and unrest; 44.1 percent felt that Jewish extremists were to blame; 5.5 percent felt government policy was responsible; and three percent blamed the Arab students.

Ninety-six percent felt the Arabs were discriminated against in Israel, and 60 percent felt the time had come to establish an independent Arab party to demand full equal rights. Only 38 percent felt this aim should be achieved through the existing parties.

Toledano, a liberal, said it was gratifying that 66 percent of those queried considered themselves connected, in one way or another, to the Israeli identity with only 34 percent feeling themselves tied only to an Arab identity.

Toledano found another favorable point in the fact that the great majority said their interest in political party activity involved local internal problems rather than wider political problems of the Palestinians.

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