Israel, Politics

Majority of Israelis Want Government to "Encourage" Arabs to Leave

Arutz Sheva reports:

Almost two-thirds of Israelis want the government to encourage Arabs to leave the country, according to a study by the Israel Democracy Institute.

According to the preliminary summary of the 2006 Democracy Index, 62% of Israelis would like to see the government actively encourage Arabs to leave Israel. Last year, only 50% supported such a policy.


Speaking with Arutz-7’s Hebrew newsmagazine, Professor Asher Arian, who conducted the survey, said he was not surprised by the support expressed for transfer. “This has been a stable sentiment in the Israeli Jewish public for many years,” he said. “The public is both cynical and very Zionist.”

Full story.

20 thoughts on “Majority of Israelis Want Government to "Encourage" Arabs to Leave

  1. Any idea why this would happen, John?
    After all, last year it was 50% and a couple of years ago it was 38% and before that it was not a significant number.

  2. TM – My current theory is that the current move towards ethnic cleansing grew from the Revisionist Zionism (Jabotinsky) movement, and was strengthened by the Kahanist movement and the rise to power of Likud which had descended indirectly from the revisionists.
    Partitioning and ethnic cleansing are simply expressions of Nationalism at its most extreme degrees
    I think part of the most recent changes may have to do with the influx of Russian Jewry who were the victims of ethnic bigotry for centuries. Since they grew up in an abusive majority/minority ethnic dynamic and this is the only dynamic they knew, they brought that with them to Israel when they immigrated but in Israel are now part of the dominant ethnicity.

  3. Why is “encouraged” in quotes?
    If you were writing about how Israel encourages diaspora Jewry to immigrate or families to have many children, would you go insinuating that they were on some Milosevic shit?

  4. Jabotinski supported democracy and not eviction of the population. He supported buying of land, not usurping it. He is certainly not a precursor to Kahane.
    Kahanism is not supported by the majority of Israelis as the recent elections clearly show. Even Lieberman’s 10 seats point to a large Russian vote, but this is a mere 8% of the population. How do you account for the other 54% who polled in favor of transfer?
    If you are right and this is an extreme form of nationalism, then what has changed in the past year or two? After all, it’s not as if Israelis were nationalists before 2005.
    This is a serious line of questioning, John, I’m not playing games.

  5. Just a guess, but maybe with the collapse of the peace process as a hope for a negotiated, two-way agreement of peace, and now the more unilateral separation steps that Israel is making…maybe some people buy into a complete separation of 2 peoples, Arab and Jew?

  6. G-D SQUAD wrote: “Ethnic cleansing? Nationalism? I think Israeli Jews just want to live in peace, they’re tired of all this terror Islamic jihad BS.
    So then why the desire to kick out the Israeli Arabs, who as far as I know (correct me if I am wrong) have barely had any involvement what-so-ever in the violence

  7. “So then why the desire to kick out the Israeli Arabs,”
    Perhaps I’m mistaken, but I can remember a few times where a suicide bomber has made their way into Israel via the help of an Arab with Israeli citizenship.
    Personally, if buses were blowing up in Toronto, I’d have no problem supporting the removal of the group/people encouraging/supporting/aiding the action. Not one ounce of sleep lost.

  8. John, you’re evading my question. I realize it’s hard to work through this, I certainly am challenged by it, but it doesn’t seem you’re even trying. I mean, you have lived in Israel and you know there’s no conspiracy to harm Arabs. The contrary is true. So what has happened? 62% is a number that by definition will include people on the Left, in the Center and not just on the Right.
    So what has changed in the last few years?
    John, have you been following the rise of Islamists among Israeli Arabs? Have you been following the public actions and speeches given by Arab MKs? Have you been paying attention to who was elected by the Palestinians as their new government?

  9. “I mean, you have lived in Israel and you know there’s no conspiracy to harm Arabs. The contrary is true.”
    tell that to the negev bedouin:
    Not greening, but weeding the Negev
    By Devorah Brous
    3 March 2006
    In the Negev, when it comes to building Jewish settlements
    and demolishing Bedouin ones, a few `making the desert
    bloom` references can go a long way. And when it comes to
    Arabs, when the Israeli government `thinks Green,` it is
    often in the militaristic sense more than the `greening
    the desert` sense.
    As a point of departure, consider the dissonance between
    two recent events. Just prior to Tu Bishvat, 2,500 dunams
    of Bedouin fields were destroyed by the Israel Land
    Authority`s (ILA) `Green Patrol.` On Tu Bishvat itself, a
    small group of politicians aced a smattering of saplings
    in holes dug by the Jewish National Fund ?(JNF?), in the
    Negev. The candidates, planting for PR purposes, had
    permits; the Bedouin villagers, engaged in
    self-subsistence, did not. The Bedouin `broke the law.`
    The Jews `made the desert bloom.`
    Even when the Bedouin go about their business with full
    permission, their rights can be revoked at any time. This
    week, Haaretz reported on the IDF`s sudden decision to
    rescind Bedouin rights to graze their herds on the fringe
    of Negev training grounds. In effect, the state has
    expelled two-thirds of Bedouin herds from their former
    range, placing army priorities above all other
    Several days before Tu Bishvat, Rahat Vice Mayor Youseff
    Abu Zayd stood over barley and wheat fields uprooted by
    the state. Abu Zayd told us he planted in vacant space `to
    be self-sufficient, and make a dignified living,` in
    conscious defiance of the image of Bedouin as a burden.
    For the vice mayor, the Green Patrol`s appearance was a
    surprise. `There was no chance to get to the courts. I am
    a public figure, and…since I know the police very
    well…I didn`t expect to see them destroying my land.`
    ILA spokeswoman Ortal Tzabar acknowledged, `In all the
    court cases there have been about this until now, the
    [Bedouin] have lost – they are now afraid to go to court.`
    Tzabar`s admission underscores the fact that the refusal
    to grant any permits negates all incentive to secure legal
    For Arab citizens, the ironic practice of uprooting on the
    verge of the planting festival reinforces a perception
    that Ben-Gurion`s vision of `making the desert bloom` is a
    transparent code for `seeding` Jewish settlement and
    `transplanting` Arab villages. For most Jewish Israelis,
    the `green` language used by the Israeli government
    appears neutral, carrying humanistic connotations imbued
    with seemingly benign national memories. Our government
    has learned to take advantage of these positive
    associations, and become highly skilled at employing green
    rhetoric to conceal hegemonic political goals to demarcate
    and claim contested space.
    As one Kadima man told the Jerusalem Post in the Negev
    last week, the party is `laying down roots that will last
    for many, many years.` We may recall that, as a principle
    force behind the Gaza settlements, Ariel Sharon also
    envisaged a Negev propagated with a new wave of Jewish
    settlement. Accordingly, since the withdrawal, many have
    suggested that the `pioneering spirit` of the Gaza
    settlers should be channeled towards the Negev. Not long
    ago, American JNF President Ronald Lauder unveiled the
    `Blueprint Negev,` a plan to attract 500,000 new settlers
    in a decade. In order to make way for the JNF?s plans, the
    government has resolved to settle the ?Bedouin question?
    once and for all. And the Green Patrol acts as messenger:
    As we uproot your `illegal` crops, we will soon come to
    uproot your `illegal` homes.
    Rather than subsidizing the efforts of Bedouin citizens to
    grow food as a key component of efforts to green the
    desert, the State of Israel has created, in the Green
    Patrol (established by Sharon in 1976) an institutional
    version of the radical settlerwho uproot ancient groves to
    `redeem` land for the Jews. Yet while the High Court
    ordered the Gaza settlers to evacuate, in the case of the
    Bedouin the High Court has never levied such a decision.
    Nevertheless, the planned transfer of 70,000 Bedouin from
    lands they have roved since the spread of Islam is
    downplayed in contrast with the removal of a few thousand
    Gaza colonists in settlements a few decades old.
    `Green` rhetoric is a powerful and deceptive tool. Let`s
    not be fooled. As a first step, we can reclaim green
    principles in defiance of the continuous degradation of
    the Negev. In essence this means infusing the ideal of
    `making the desert bloom` with humanism, above all else.
    The writer is the director of Bustan – Eco-Justice

  10. So then why the desire to kick out the Israeli Arabs,
    Maybe cuz the Israelis are sick and tired of them celebrating ‘land day’, ‘nakba day’, and otherwise chanting ‘itbach al-yahud’ at soccer matches and other political rallies?

  11. Is that the best you got xisnotx? Does that really tell us anything? Does it tell us about the explosive growth of the Bedouin population in the Negev? Does it tell us about the subsidies they receive from the state? Does it tell us about education or voting rights? Does it tell us about their participation in the IDF? Does it tell us about the illegal construction, community building and grazing that have gone on unabated and unrestricted by the Israeli government for decades? No, your article mentions none of that.
    Perhaps if borders didn’t restrict a nomadic people, things would be easier for the Bedouin. Sadly for them, the 20th Century arrived and suddenly they were confronted with states and borders. Witness Egypt and their treatment of the Bedouin. Do you think that the Egyptians also want to screw the Arabs in their country and have an inherent problem with them?
    What does any of this have to do with your attempted attack on my statement, “I mean, you have lived in Israel and you know there’s no conspiracy to harm Arabs. The contrary is true.”
    The Bedouin are in partial conflict with Israel because they are going from a semi-nomadic culture to one that’s supposedly permanently situated The Israeli government, like the Egyptians, had hoped to centralize them in 7 different towns, but discovered they could not control this without using force. They did nothing as a result and watched (while complaining) as the Bedouin continued to expand their villages without any permits, rights, or infrastructure.
    They also marry Palestinian women, but those women are now excluded from Gaza and find it challenging to visit family in the West Bank.
    The Bedouin want to control a vast patch of Negev land, including land they claim as theirs from 1948, and have been discussing a solution with the Israeli government. The Israelis have made an offer, but the Bedouin want several times what was offered. An offer has been made, however.
    All of this is to say that in a complex situation, one can find reasons to place the blame on one side, but in this case, the Israelis may have made mistakes but they were not malicious or bigoted. On the contrary, they are related to a set of circumstances that have a great deal to do with a particular culture suddenly being thrust into a completely new environment dominated by an entirely different set of cultural norms.

  12. TM, it is a complex situation indeed.
    First of all, it is often to do with the way the question is asked, and by whom (see article in Haaretz, siting a similar poll from March with 40% result in another survey –
    Another article in the JP in 2004 by Dan Izenberg called ‘Israeli Arab treatment worse since Or Report’ talks about 60% support for the idea back then (you said 38%-50%).
    The sad point of course is that whether 40 or 60, large part of the Jewish population is moving towards nationalistic redlines. Genuine fears or innate racism, this is not a happy state (literally…).
    An eye-opener is to look at some information from the ‘other side’. An article which also appeared in the JP in 2004 by Hilary Leila Krieger called ‘A recent poll of Arab Israelis paints a grim picture of the population’s attitudes toward the State.’ is a good start. (sorry but it is PPV now on the JP site so I enclose some paragraphs below and apologize for the length of text below). The real interesting part is in the stats relating to resource distribution. I dare say that this is where your answers are found, on both sides. People are poor and unhappy (and post Netanyahu the lower ‘classes’ are definitely worse off), and when people are unhappy they are also unkind. Also note Prof. Samooha point about asking the ‘right’nquestions. His own article and other relevant can be found here
    JP: 62% believe it is impossible for Israel to be both a Jewish and democratic state; 54% think equality between Jews and Arabs is not possible as long as Israel is identified as a Jewish state; only 33% describe Israel as a democracy; 94% consider Zionism “a racist movement”; and 87% feel the Law of Return [which permits any Jew residing outside of Israel to immigrate to the Jewish State] is “racist”.
    The poll was conducted by the Haifa-based Mada al-Carmel — The Arab Center for Applied Social Research from January to March of this year. The survey of 854 people included Druze but not “the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem or the Syrian residents of the Golan Heights.”
    There was widespread dissatisfaction with quality-of-life issues: A mere 7% of respondents were satisfied with their standard of living, only 11% with education in Arab schools, and just 6% with the services offered by local councils.
    Similarly, the percentage of those who believe there is equality between Jews and Arabs is low: only 4% when it comes to resource distribution, 10% in terms of private employment opportunities and 7% in government employment, 11% in the arena of political rights, and 30% on the issue of freedom of expression (the highest number in any category considered).
    The sector that did the best was health and hospital services, with approximately half the respondents characterizing these as completely or close to completely equal.
    When it comes to the “civil or police forces,” only 31% said it was appropriate for Arabs to serve on such bodies, while 28% backed participating in the army.
    At the same time, 89% endorsed Arab participation on Israeli sports teams and 85% supported Arabs representing Israel in academic and professional delegations abroad.
    Haifa University sociology Prof. Sammy Smooha, director of the Index of Relations Between Jews and Arabs in Israel, said the survey findings were broadly consistent with his own recently released data. His research, however, found that nearly 70% of Israeli Arabs accept Israel’s right to exist within the Green Line [i.e., Israel’s 1949 armistice demarcation lines] as “a Jewish and democratic state in which Jews and Arabs live together” and that 37.7% accept the Zionist principle of Israel’s right to preserve a Jewish majority.
    Smooha pointed out the importance of how the question were phrased; using the term “Zionism” versus “preserving the Jewish character of the State,” for example, could provoke different responses on similar issues.
    He added that Mada al-Carmel’s “line of thinking is very nationalistic” and that it wants to show that Arabs are “opposed” to the State and “will fight to change the nature of the State.”
    (©) The Jerusalem Post

  13. “but in this case, the Israelis may have made mistakes but they were not malicious or bigoted. ”
    Is that a fact? if Jews build “illegally”, does the Green Patrol come with cropdusters to spray herbicides to destroy their crops, or do they only do that to bedouin?
    since you asked for a better example, how about this:
    May. 13, 2006 22:52 | Updated May. 14, 2006 18:25
    Court rules to uphold Citizenship Law
    The High Court of Justice decided on Sunday by a narrow 6-5 vote to uphold the existing Citizenship and Entry Law, which prohibits Palestinian spouses of Israeli citizens from living within the Green Line.
    “I had hoped and expected the High Court would be the last arena for protecting democracy,” MK Zehava Gal-On from the Meretz-Yahad Party told Israel Radio. “In essence, we are talking about a means to halt the demographic threat. There are no real security issues.”
    “The High Court could have taken a braver decision and not relegate us to the level of an apartheid state,” The Associated Press quoted Gal-On as saying.

  14. Komai,
    Thank you for your informative comment. There is no question that hard times play a significant role in all of this.
    I have another theory and it relates to the emotional impact on Israelis of this Palestinian war that was launched in 2000. It hasn’t ended. While the Israelis have held up and have been quite brave, there is no question that terror has an impact. You send your kid to school on a bus and you can’t do it without saying a small prayer. You go into a falafel shop to grab a quick bite, and you know that it could be your last. You go out to a restaurant, and you can’t help but glance outside at the security guard who has become a normal presence just to see who the latest person he’s stopped might be.
    In addition, it has become evident that the Palestinians have no intention of compromising. Their idea of compromise is for Israel to give up Jerusalem and become a bi-national state from the Ocean to the River. In other words, it isn’t a compromise that the Israelis can accept.
    We have seen the rise of Islamism in Israel, and we have seen as their leadership continues to make harsh accusations while promoting the Palestinian version of compromise. Between visits to Syria, Lebanon and to the PA to meet with Hamas, there really isn’t any question where many Israeli Arabs stand on the question of what constitutes a fair and just resolution to the conflict.
    Finally, there is the issue of the demographic hysteria that has overtaken the country. In part it is because Sharon bought into it that so many Israelis have. I have just read a NY Times article where they estimated 3.8 Palestinians between Gaza and the West Bank. That number is their official number. While a small group of Israeli researchers claim the number is actually 2.4 million, either number is problematic when combined with 1.2 million Israeli Arabs who may not support a Zionist state.
    If we’re seeing this idea of encouraging people to leave – and it seems that the way the question is asked suggests peaceful means of doing so – I believe that the above gives us some idea as to why.
    Xisnotx, since you really want to push these buttons of hate and bigotry even though they don’t drive Israeli society and never have, yes, it is a fact that they don’t do it maliciously or with bigotry. First of all, a single act or even a small series of acts conducted by a small group does not color an entire population, their government or especially decades of ongoing policies. In fact, if you want to look at the policies from a long-term point of view, the Bedouin have mostly been left to themselves. Some would call that the problem since they should have been integrated into the society to a greater degree. However, they are a difficult group to integrate. They refused to move into the towns where they were expected to move, which made financing any infrastructure or assistance far more difficult. Also, they have very different cultural emphases and getting them into higher education – which of course is the engine that enables people to jump to different economic strata – has been challenging, to say the least.
    That’s not to say that Israel cannot do more. That’s also not to say that there isn’t discrimination against Arabs in Israel that is institutionalized. I’m not denying that at all. I am saying that this is primarily a function of what is perceived as a security issue as well as, to some degree, a political issue, because the Arab parties have taken anti-Israel positions that often force the other parties to leave them outside of coalitions and roles where they could parlay their votes into goodies for their constituents. By the way, if those 10 seats went to Labor, for example, I believe you would see some of these discriminatory practices eliminated right away. For these reasons, I contend that there is absolutely no conspiracy to harm Israeli Arabs.
    Oh, and just as a reminder, because I know you need it: Israeli Arabs have more rights and a higher standard of living than virtually all other Arabs in the Middle East. By a large margin.

  15. Joe Grossberg wrote: “Why is “encouraged” in quotes? If you were writing about how Israel encourages diaspora Jewry to immigrate or families to have many children, would you go insinuating that they were on some Milosevic shit?
    The reason I put quotes around “encouraged” is because I think calling this “encouragement” is pure spin
    In my opinion it would be more accurate to call it “discouraged from being a part of Israel”. “Encourage” implies urging someone to do something positive, to offer help.
    Merriam-Webster : en·cour·age
    Pronunciation: in-‘k&r-ij, -‘k&-rij, en-
    Function: transitive verb
    1 : to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope : HEARTEN
    2 : to spur on : STIMULATE
    3 : to give help or patronage to : FOSTER

  16. “If we’re seeing this idea of encouraging people to leave – and it seems that the way the question is asked suggests peaceful means of doing so ”
    yes, let’s “spirit the penniless population across the border”,” as Herzl put it. these spirited endeavors usually seem to work out very peacefully.
    which reminds me:
    Q: what’s the difference between the Israeli right and the Israeli left?
    A: the Israeli right wants to put all the Arabs onto buses and send them into Jordan. The left wants those buses to be air-conditioned.
    “They refused to move into the towns where they were expected to move, which made financing any infrastructure or assistance far more difficult. ”
    “Israeli Arabs have more rights and a higher standard of living than virtually all other Arabs in the Middle East. By a large margin.”
    ok, you’ve convinced me. from now on, i’ll put my energies into Darfur, Tibet, and the Congo.

  17. TM, ditto thanks for your comment – nice to have a civilized conversation here with someone who disagrees without falling into melodramatic whizz-bang derision…
    And yes, completely agree with you about the stress that general Israelis live with. My point is that we refuse to see that there are plenty of ordinary folk on the ‘other’ side who have it even harder, and that we fail to realize the escalation in measures to try and suppress, what is in essence, as valid an argument as we have for living in the area, will not solve the problem.
    If you take your paragraph about busses and falafel stands, and substitute it with the grim daily reality of people who live in the territories – their economical destitute, hardship in traveling; take you’re the refusal to compromise of their leaders, and think about how every Israeli govt. kept funding and expanding the settlements throughout the Oslo years. If you do this honestly, side-stepping the ever-ingrained human reflex of being right about everything, and try and see that however bad we have it, we are still battered on the buttered side of the slice. What is called, in relative terms, ‘Tzarot shel ashirim’.
    I am not saying that their leadership is not abominably daft and useless; I am not saying that they have made the right choices when they had a chance or two to make a real difference – far from it. But I am saying is that by wishful-thinking we can coax them to go away – make them disappear – cage them behind a big wall – force them into pre year 2000 submission by attrition does not work, will not work, and, in the history of nationalistic agendas, never did work without the stronger side completely turning monstrously murderous. As in South America, as in Australia, as in Tibet. Huston, we have a problem.
    Israeli Arabs are the bridging point between the Jews and the Palestinians. Consistently, research stats indicate that they know they are better off with us and prefer it that way, however much B-citizenship must be difficult. They have a parallel narrative that we are failing for almost 60 years to embrace with fully, even though the reality of it is that we co-exist together on the tiniest of RE. You could no doubt argue that they only accept our narrative because we have guns, and that is definitely a good reason not to turn them into garden rakes just yet, but 58 years onward, we can allow ourselves to ease the paranoia of the eternal victims and see that the onus is on us – big time – to try and alleviate misery caused by our side. To move into the 21st century and take responsibility for what we can.
    We cannot choose a better government for the Palestinians (heck, we can hardly choose a better one for us); we cannot convince every nut case to lay down his arm; we cannot eliminate Islamist fanaticism with a hug. But, there is a lot we can do, both with the Palestinians and the Israeli Arabs, that will make a huge difference in the quality of their daily life. The main reason why radical clerics succeed is because they preach to disaffected hormonal youth with little prospects for a better future. And they give them food and medicines. That is why Einstein said “If you think education is expensive, you should try ignorance…”. But we want to keep them hungry and stupid. Wonder why he refused to become our first president?!

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