Fifty-two percent of Jewish Israelis identify with the statement by MK Miri Regev last month that African migrants are “a cancer in the body” of the nation, and over a third condone anti-migrant violence, according to the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) Peace Index for May 2012.
Broken down by political and religious affiliation, the monthly index’s findings reveal that among Jews there is a direct correlation between right-wing political affiliation and a racist attitude toward migrants. Thus, 86 percent of Shas voters and 66 percent of Likud voters polled expressed identification with Regev’s controversial statement, as opposed to 32 percent of Labor voters and four percent of Meretz voters.
The degree of religiosity attested to by respondents also accounted for a large disparity in the findings, with 81.5% and 66% of self-described ultra-Orthodox and Orthodox, respectively, agreeing with Regev’s statement, as opposed to 38% of secular Israelis.
Only 19% of Arab respondents agreed that the migrants were “a cancer.”
The poll also found that 33.5 percent of Jews and 23 percent of Arabs identified with recent acts of violence against African migrants perpetrated by demonstrators and residents of South Tel Aviv. According to the IDI this was “very surprising, considering that most people do not tend to openly report sympathy for acts that are broadly condemned by society.”