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Israelis Uncomfortable with Equal Rights, Employment for Arabs: Polls

A survey of Israeli youth has found a high degree of anti-Arab militancy and a pervasive opposition to equal rights for Israel’s Arabs.

The results were discussed at a study day on “Values, Youth and Security” sponsored by the Israel Defense Force and the Gadna youth movement in cooperation with Tel Aviv University’s School of Education.

Dr. Mina Tzemah of the Dahaf Institute, who conducted the survey, reported that about 40 percent of Israeli youth support Jewish terrorist organizations, although only 10 percent were prepared to join such a group. About 10 percent identified themselves as extremists in the mold of Rabbi Meir Kahae and 30 percent said they tended to support Kahane’s goal of an Israeli state free of all Arabs. Kahane himself no longer enjoys much support among youth.

Tzemah said the education-for-democracy programs at Israeli schools have resulted in a higher percentage of support among young people for the concept of Israel as a democratic state. But the support, apparently, is only in theory.

Tzemah reported that 60 percent of youths continue to believe there is no justification to grant equal rights to Israel’s Arab citizens and 45 percent favor legislation to prohibit criticism of the government over its handling of its relations with the Arab world.

NEGATIVE ON EMPLOYMENT

A negative attitude by Israelis toward equal employment opportunities for Arabs was found by Prof. Sami Smooha of Haifa University, who conducted a survey among 1,200 Jews outside of the administered territories.

He reported at a university symposium that the majority in Israel accepts the employment of Arabs as construction workers or in mental jobs such as cleaners and is suspicious of the employment of Arab university graduates. Smooha said that 45 percent of Jews favor firing Arab workers before Jewish workers, 68 percent would not work under an Arab superior and 81 percent believed that Jews must be given preference over Arabs with respect to job opportunities.

Smooha said this attitude seems to stem from the fact that Israel is a Jewish state and therefore Jews must enjoy privileges. He also reported that 83 percent of his respondents think only some Israeli Arabs are loyal to the state and the same percentage perceived Arabs to be a danger to Israel’s security.

NO TO COUNCIL MEMBERS

A majority of Israelis look with disfavor on the idea of an Arab member of the Jerusalem City Council, according to a poll taken by the Telesker Institute between June 8-10. The results, published in Hadashot, showed that 51.9 percent of the respondents saw the announcement by East Jerusalem Arab editor Hanna Seniora that he should stand for election in the next municipal elections to be “bad or negative for Israel.”

A 23.3 percent minority thought Seniora’s initiative was “good or positive from Israel’s viewpoint” and 24.8 percent had no opinion.

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