Israel’s dark reality; majority support apartheid, according to new study

Gideon Levy in Haaretz presents the startling facts:

Most of the Jewish public in Israel supports the establishment of an apartheid regime in Israel if it formallhy annexes the West Bank.

A majority also explicitly favors discrimination against the state’s Arab citizens, a survey shows.

The survey, conducted by Dialog on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, exposes anti-Arab, ultra-nationalist views espoused by a majority of Israeli Jews. The survey was commissioned by the New Israel Fund’s Yisraela Goldblum Fund and is based on a sample of 503 interviewees.

The questions were written by a group of academia-based peace and civil rights activists. Dialog is headed by Tel Aviv University Prof. Camil Fuchs.

The majority of the Jewish public, 59 percent, wants preference for Jews over Arabs in admission to jobs in government ministries. Almost half the Jews, 49 percent, want the state to treat Jewish citizens better than Arab ones; 42 percent don’t want to live in the same building with Arabs and 42 percent don’t want their children in the same class with Arab children.

A third of the Jewish public wants a law barring Israeli Arabs from voting for the Knesset and a large majority of 69 percent objects to giving 2.5 million Palestinians the right to vote if Israel annexes the West Bank.

A sweeping 74 percent majority is in favor of separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. A quarter – 24 percent – believe separate roads are “a good situation” and 50 percent believe they are “a necessary situation.”

Almost half – 47 percent – want part of Israel’s Arab population to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority and 36 percent support transferring some of the Arab towns from Israel to the PA, in exchange for keeping some of the West Bank settlements.

Although the territories have not been annexed, most of the Jewish public (58 percent ) already believes Israel practices apartheid against Arabs. Only 31 percent think such a system is not in force here. Over a third (38 percent ) of the Jewish public wants Israel to annex the territories with settlements on them, while 48 percent object.

The survey distinguishes among the various communities in Israeli society – secular, observant, religious, ultra-Orthodox and former Soviet immigrants. The ultra-Orthodox, in contrast to those who described themselves as religious or observant, hold the most extreme positions against the Palestinians. An overwhelming majority (83 percent ) of Haredim are in favor of segregated roads and 71 percent are in favor of transfer.

The ultra-Orthodox are also the most anti-Arab group – 70 percent of them support legally barring Israeli Arabs from voting, 82 percent support preferential treatment from the state toward Jews, and 95 percent are in favor of discrimination against Arabs in admission to workplaces.

The group classifying itself as religious is the second most anti-Arab. New immigrants from former Soviet states are closer in their views of the Palestinians to secular Israelis, and are far less radical than the religious and Haredi groups. However, the number of people who answered “don’t know” in the “Russian” community was higher than in any other.

The Russians register the highest rate of satisfaction with life in Israel (77 percent ) and the secular Israelis the lowest – only 63 percent. On average, 69 percent of Israelis are satisfied with life in Israel.

Secular Israelis appear to be the least racist – 68 percent of them would not mind having Arab neighbors in their apartment building, 73 percent would not mind Arab students in their children’s class and 50 percent believe Arabs should not be discriminated against in admission to workplaces.

The survey indicates that a third to half of Jewish Israelis want to live in a state that practices formal, open discrimination against its Arab citizens. An even larger majority wants to live in an apartheid state if Israel annexes the territories.

The survey conductors say perhaps the term “apartheid” was not clear enough to some interviewees. However, the interviewees did not object strongly to describing Israel’s character as “apartheid” already today, without annexing the territories. Only 31 percent objected to calling Israel an “apartheid state” and said “there’s no apartheid at all.”

In contrast, 39 percent believe apartheid is practiced “in a few fields”; 19 percent believe “there’s apartheid in many fields” and 11 percent do not know.

The “Russians,” as the survey calls them, display the most objection to classifying their new country as an apartheid state. A third of them – 35 percent – believe Israel practices no apartheid at all, compared to 28 percent of the secular and ultra-Orthodox communities, 27 percent of the religious and 30 percent of the observant Jews who hold that view. Altogether, 58 percent of all the groups believe Israel practices apartheid “in a few fields” or “in many fields,” while 11 percent don’t know.

Finally, the interviewees were asked whether “a famous American author [who] is boycotting Israel, claiming it practices apartheid” should be boycotted or invited to Israel. About half (48 percent ) said she should be invited to Israel, 28 percent suggest no response and only 15 percent call to boycott her.


  • Richard

    Raises questions but also present opportunities.
    1) Qs
    What was the design of the study?
    So may ways to get inaccurate results.
    How was it done.. On line, post, face to face, confidential or open?
    How many subjects, how many responded?
    How were the questions set, how were they scored, who scored them?
    If face to face, were was it performed, house, office, street?
    What district did recipients come from? If Hebron or Ashkelon, it is easy to see how common sense is skewed..
    Etc etc.

    2) Opportunities,
    If this is truly representative, then it identifies the target for upscale BDS. Simple.

  • Richard

    Skimmed the article..
    It is hard (but not impossible for a statistician) to 503 out of almost 6 million and call the results "significant".
    Other comments still stand… Even more so.
    I think we can all relax.
    But remain vigilant

    • examinator

      I'm not surprised at the level of polarisation in the views.
      In reality the target audience would have been much lower than 6 million …that is the total population… and sensibly there would be age , competency etc exclusions. Likewise gender, income level and nature of livelihood would inject further biases.
      I'd be interested to know if the figures held true in *those* criteria.
      In the absence of those correlations being tested and specifically allowed for I think Your final position is by far the most reasoned one.

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  • Kevin Herbert


    why don't you contact Dialog which is is headed by Tel Aviv University Prof. Camil Fuchs & raise your misgivings with her?

    NOTE: polls of Aussie voters are usually no more than 1000 out of 23 million, with a variation of plus or minus 3

  • examinator

    All t his survey (such as it's reported here) does for me is confirm the narrowness and improbability of the "one state" argument .

  • Dee Hart

    Rather than further calls for sanctions in response to this survey, support could be given to an organisation such the Peres Center for Peace. It is Israel’s leading non-profit organization promoting peacebuilding between Israel and its Arab neighbors, particularly between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. See

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  • iResistDe4iAm

    The survey merely confirms the well documented reality of Israeli racism and institutionalised discrimination against non-Jews.

    One employment outcome for Jewish Israelis, a different outcome for non-Jewish Israelis = Israeli apartheid

    One housing policy for Jewish Israelis, a different policy for non-Jewish Israelis = Israeli apartheid

    One economic outcome for Jewish Jerusalemites, a different outcome (poverty) for non-Jewish Jerusalemites = Israeli apartheid

    One farming policy for Jewish Israelis, a different policy for non-Jewish Israelis = Israeli apartheid

    More than 35 laws discriminate against non-Jewish citizens of Israel