10/23/2012, 00.00
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Most Israeli Jews for apartheid regime in Israel

by Joshua Lapide
Most want to take away voting rights from Israeli Arabs and deny it to Palestinians in case the West Bank is annexed. They also want separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians and the separation of Jewish and Arab children. This "picture is a very, very sick one" for Israel. Perhaps more than racism, it embodies naked power over the defeated.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - A majority of Israeli Jews would support an apartheid regime in Israel and marginalise Palestinians in case the West Bank was annexed, a survey shows. A majority also explicitly favours discrimination against the state's Arab citizens. The study by public opinion firm Dialog, which is headed by Tel Aviv Prof Camil Fuchs, was commissioned New Israel Fund's Yisraela Goldblum Fund based on a sample of 503 interviewees.

Survey results indicate that 59 per cent of Israeli Jews wants preference for Jews over Arabs in public sector employment. Almost half (49 per cent) wants the state to treat Jewish citizens better than Arab ones; 42 per cent do not want to live in the same building with Arabs and 42 per cent do not want their children in the same classes as Arab children.

At least a third of Jews wants a law barring Israeli Arabs from voting for the Knesset and a large majority of 69 per cent objects to giving 2.5 million Palestinians the right to vote if Israel annexes the West Bank.

A large majority, 74 per cent, is in favour of separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. Of these, 24 per cent believe separate roads are "a good situation" and 50 per cent believe they are "a necessary situation."

About 47 per cent wants part of Israel's Arab population to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority and 36 per cent support transferring some of the Arab towns from Israel to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for keeping some of the Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Among Jews, 58 per cent already believes Israel practices apartheid against Arabs. Only 31 per cent think such a system is not in force here.

Over a third (38 per cent) of Jews wants Israel to annex the territories with settlements on them, whilst 48 per cent object.

The survey results, published in the daily Haaretz, distinguish among the various communities in Israeli society: secular, observant, religious, ultra-Orthodox and former Soviet immigrants. The ultra-Orthodox, in contrast to those who described themselves as religious or observant, hold the most extreme positions against the Palestinians. An overwhelming majority (83 per cent) of Haredim are in favour of segregated roads and 71 per cent are in favour of transfer.

The ultra-Orthodox are also the most anti-Arab group: 70 per cent of them support legally barring Israeli Arabs from voting, 82 per cent support preferential treatment from the state toward Jews, and 95 per cent are in favour of discrimination against Arabs in job hiring.

Secular Israelis appear to be the least racist: 68 per cent of them would not mind having Arab neighbours in their apartment building, 73 per cent would not mind Arab students in their children's class and 50 per cent believe Arabs should not be discriminated against in admission to workplaces.

Russian-Israelis are in the middle, showing the highest rate of satisfaction with life in Israel (77 per cent). On average, 69 per cent of Israelis are satisfied with life in Israel.

Some 59 per cent believe apartheid is practiced "in a few" or "many fields" and 11 per cent do not know.

In commenting the results, journalist Gideon Levy said that the picture that emerges shows an Israel that "is a very, very sick" with "Israelis [. . .] openly, shamelessly, and guiltlessly defining themselves as nationalistic racists."

Jew leaders contacted by AsiaNews note however that the Israel's picture is not the most important thing. Facts on the ground count more.

Since Israel's creation, Arabs inside Israel have suffered discrimination, Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza have had to endure intolerance, and Arab rights and land have been trampled upon.

For these Jews, Israeli policies are not the expression of "ideological racism," but the result of naked power relations between victors and vanquished.


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