If one were to listen only to the mainstream media and Israel's many antagonists, one would be led to believe that the Jewish state is a horrible and oppressive place for Arabs to live, and that said Arabs desire nothing more than to replace Israel with their own "Palestinian" state.
But if one bothers to listen to those Arabs themselves (something the media often does its best no avoid), a completely different picture emerges.
According to the Democracy Index 2011 survey conducted recently by the Israel Democracy Institute, nearly 53 percent of Israeli Arabs are "proud to be Israelis."
Only 28.3 percent responded that they are "not at all proud" to be Israelis.
Those figures would seem a stark contrast to all those criticisms about Israel being an apartheid state that discriminates against and oppresses its Arab population.
Alexander Yakobson, an op-ed contributor to left-wing Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, said he asked a group of British journalists whether or not 45 percent (the percentage of Arabs who said they were proud to be Israel in the year Yakobson made his inquiry) of Catholics in Northern Ireland would be ready to say they are "proud to be British."
Yakobson recounted that one of the journalists told him: "I do not believe that 45 Catholics in Northern Ireland are willing to say it, let alone 45 percent."
Perhaps even more surprising was that in the 2011 Democracy Index a 45 percent plurality of Israeli Arabs believe it to be "important or very important" to increase Israel's military might. Only 29 percent felt the opposite. That is interesting coming from a population that is supposedly a victim of Israel's "occupation army."
Unfortunately, the only Israeli Arabs who receive any press coverage are those who attack the Jewish state with accusations of human rights abuses.