The vast majority of Arab citizens feel that they belong in the Jewish State of Israel. That according to an annual survey published on Independence Day.
Israel’s detractors would have you believe that it is a racist state that practices “apartheid” against local Arabs. Those assertions almost never mesh with facts on the ground.
In any country with large ethnic minorities, there is going to be some degree of division. But the 2020 Independence Day survey carried out by the Israel Democracy Institute found that an overwhelming 77 percent majority of Arab citizens feel a part of the nation.
Among Israeli Jews, 92.5 percent said they feel a part of the nation.
Those numbers represent significant increases. Over the past five years (2014-2019) the number of Jews who felt a sense of belonging ranged from 83-87 percent, and among Arabs 35-62 percent.
The jump in the Jewish population’s sense of belonging can be attributed to 93.5 percent of ultra-Orthodox Jews now feeling part of the state, whereas just 68.5 percent said they felt that way a year ago.
The increase in the Arab sector is a bit more puzzling.
Over the past year, the major Jewish political parties warned repeatedly of the dangers of working with the Joint Arab List in Knesset. Although, to be fair, that had more do to with the fact that the Joint List’s top politicians routinely identify with the Palestinian nationalist cause and have even justified Palestinian terrorism.
Also of note was the recent passing of Israel’s so-called “Nation-State Law,” which enshrined in Basic Law (Israel’s equivalent of a constitution) the Jewish character of the state. Some decried this as “racist” legislation.
And yet, more Arabs than ever before feel a sense of belonging in Israel.
Despite (or is it because of?) the fact it’s dominated by Jews, Israel is the one country in the Middle East where Arabs are truly free–politically, economically and religiously. And with the problems in the surrounding Arab states in recent years, more and more Israeli Arabs are waking up to that reality.