In the run up to Israel Independence Day, the Israeli Democracy Institute carried out a telephone survey of 600 Arab and Jewish citizens, in conjunction with Tel Aviv University, asking the question “how life in Israel is going.”
The survey found that more Israeli Arabs are satisfied with the State of Israel than their Jewish counterparts.
According to professors Ephraim Yaar and Tamar Hermann the survey, “focused on the public’s perception of the state of the country in the present and the future, and on its opinions about Israel’s achievements in key areas. We also looked into how the interviewees view their personal situation, how proud they are to be Israeli, and whether they feel that they are part of the country and its problems.”
The survey used a tool which they have called the peace index, “a longitudinal research project based on a monthly survey that monitors public sentiment on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel, and current events of a political or diplomatic nature.” It is a project of the Evens Program for Mediation and Conflict Resolution at Tel Aviv University and the Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research of the Israel Democracy Institute.”
The results demonstrated what many in Israel, and perhaps some outside, already know: overall Israeli Arabs are reasonably satisfied with life in Israel.
Graph of the month: Assessment of Israel’s Achievements in Different Fields (%, achievements very good or moderately good, as perceived by Jews and Arabs)
The most striking statistic is that 66 percent of Arabs see the overall situation as good, as opposed to just 43.9 percent of Jews.
Also noteworthy is that while both Arabs and Jews do not feel that the government is particularly “attentive to what citizens want,” more than twice as many Arabs (46 percent) feel the situation is good or very good, as opposed to just 22 percent of Jews.
A similar picture emerges in the category “reducing the social gap,” with again 46 percent of Arabs feeling the situation is good or very good, but only 19 percent of Jews feeling the same way.
In short, according to these findings it is hard for those who wish to accuse the Israeli government of discrimination towards its Arab citizens to find a basis in fact. If anything, some might argue that the reverse is true.
However, pride in being Israeli is much lower among Arabs than Jews: 51 percent to 82 percent. On the other hand, both communities have a majority who are proud of their nationality, albeit a smaller number of Arabs.
In other categories satisfaction levels were much higher for both Jews and Arabs, with Arabs mostly a little more satisfied regarding medicine and health, managing economic stability and education and science. Education and science held the highest overall score with 93 percent of Arabs feeling satisfied or very satisfied.
In the category “maintaining the country’s security,” the Jewish population is more satisfied than the Arab, although both communities have high levels of satisfaction at 83 and 74 percent respectively.
The survey was conducted by the Midgam Research Institute on behalf of its sponsors, on April 18-19, with an error range of ±4.1 percent and a confidence level of 95.
The numbers of adult Arabs surveyed (100) was much lower than the number of Jews (500), although proportionately those figures represent the overall Israeli population.