Nearly 50% of Israeli Jews support transfer or expulsion of Israeli Arabs: poll

Des partisans de l'organisation d'extrême-droite israélienne, Lehava, agitent le drapeau israélien pour protester contre le mariage de Morel Malcha, juive reconvertie et Mahmoud Mansour, musulman, à Rishon LeZion le 17 août 2014
Gali Tibbon (AFP)
Seventy-nine percent of Israeli Arabs believe there is a lot of discrimination against Muslims in Israel

A new poll has revealed that nearly half of Israeli Jews are in favor of the expulsion or transfer of Arabs from Israel.

The survey, conducted by leading polling group the American Pew Research Center between the end of 2014 and mid-2015, concluded before the current wave of violence broke out. The Pew Center published its results on Tuesday.

When faced with the statement "Arabs should be expelled or transferred from Israel," 48 percent of Israeli Jews said they were in favor of the idea, with 21 percent strongly agreeing and 27 percent "mostly" agreeing.

Forty-six percent expressed their opposition to such a plan: 29 percent responded that they "don't really agree" and 17 percent said they "don't agree at all."

The level of support changes among different demographics within Israeli society. Among the religious sector, 71 percent support expulsion of Arabs from Israel, while 58 percent of the secular community is opposed. Thirty-seven percent of secular respondents said they supported the idea.

On the right-wing, 71 percent said they supported expulsion, compared to 86 percent on the left who said they were opposed.

Responding to the survey results, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told a Pew Center meeting: "This is a survey that needs to be placed before every decision-maker in Israel. It points to the need to deal with our internal problems, more than ever.

"The idea of a democratic state of Israel which is just for Jews is impossible and it is incumbent upon us to find a way to address this," the president added.

The issue of discrimination also provoked widely-divergent views among survey respondents. While 79 percent of Israeli Arabs said that there is a lot of anti-Muslim discrimination in Israel, only 21 percent of Jews expressed the same opinion.

But the same rule didn't entirely apply in the opposite direction: while only nine percent of Jews said that secular Jews face a lot of discrimination in Israel, 21 percent of Arabs said that secular Jews are discriminated against.

When questioned on settlements, 42 percent of Israeli Jews responded that they help with Israel's security, with 30 percent saying they harm security. A quarter said that they make no impact one way or the other.

Sixty-three percent of Israeli Arabs, meanwhile, responded that settlements hurt Israel's security.

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