New York – A new survey has found that Israeli Arab support for Israel is low and has dropped significantly since last years Lebanon war. The survey, conducted by Prof. Ephraim Yaar, Head of the Evens Program in Mediation and Conflict Resolution at Tel Aviv University, and Efrat Peleg, showed that Israeli Arabs respondents rated their Arab patriotism at 86%, their Palestinian patriotism at 61%, and their Israeli patriotism at 38%. The survey also showed that Israeli Arabs were not proud of being Israeli, and that their emotional affinity to the country was diminishing. Only 45% of Israeli Arab participants said they would encourage their children to remain living in Israel.
The survey showed that Jews in Haifa and the North became more emotionally attached to Israel following last years Lebanon war, whereas the emotional attachment to Israel diminished amongst the Arab population in the same cities. Additionally, the survey findings also showed that the percentage of Israeli Arabs willing to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) decreased significantly following the second Lebanon war, falling from an already low figure of 42% of the Arab population in 2006 to an even lower 26.5% in 2007 (Yediot Ahronot, January 17, 2007).
Other recent developments show increasing Israeli Arab opposition to Israel as a Jewish state. In December 2006, the Mossawa Center the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel, an Arab advocacy group, produced a paper, Constitution Based on Equality for All which calls for overturning the Law of Return which allows for automatic citizenship for Jews who immigrate to Israel. (Independent Media Review & Analysis, December 6, 2006).
Similarly, the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee also released a document in December entitled, The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel, stipulating that Israeli Arabs will demand that during the next two decades Israel become a binational state alongside an independent Palestinian state (Haaretz, December 6, 2006).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, The ZOA noted last August that Israeli past failure to enforce the law and impose penalties against certain Arab MKs who were visiting states hostile to Israel and vocally supporting anti-Israel terrorist groups was effectively inviting the Israeli Arab population to be disloyal. Virtually every Arab Member of Knesset (MK) has made hostile remarks against Israel. For example, MK Azmi Bishara has praised Syria in its struggle to liberate occupied Arab land, its resistance against occupation and its defense of the legitimacy of such resistance and declared that We are Syria s ally. MK Jamal Zahalka has stated that, For us Syria is no enemy and MK Wasal Taha has advised Arab terrorists to concentrate their efforts on attacking and abducting Israeli soldiers. Only last week, Ahmed Tibi, at a Palestinian rally of 250,000 people, praised the terrorist group Fatah saying, Fatah was the first group to launch the revolution, and Palestine and Fatah will remain. The liberation of Palestine is a long process, and the path is full of obstacles. The Palestinians will continue their struggle until the liberation of the land. Tibi also condemned Israeli crimes against Palestinians, including children. These remarks simply would not be tolerated in any other democracy.
These survey results indicate that continuing neglect of the situation is not an option. ZOA has written a letter to Israels Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz, urging him to review and address this situation, including the problem posed by disloyal Arab MKs, a step which was contemplated by him back in August, but on which very little appears to have happened.