Washington, June 8 - Israeli Arabs by a wide margin would rather live in Israel than anywhere else, including a future Palestinian state, a new poll by the University of Haifa has shown.
The poll shows a large majority, 68 percent, prefer Israel, while around 57 percent accept Saturday as the official day of rest and Hebrew as the national language. The poll’s director, University of Haifa professor Sammy Smooha, said most Arab Israelis weren’t “patriots” but appreciated the benefits of living in Israel.
“What we found was that they said that Israel was a good place to live in. They have benefits in Israel. They have the rule of law. They have democracy. They have a modern way of life. And all this they appreciate and this is their pragmatism,” Smooha, told The Media Line.
Israeli Arabs make up 20 percent of Israel's population, and Israeli law guarantees Arab citizensthe same civic, economic, and legal rights as Jewish citizens. At present, Arabs hold 11 seats in the Knesset, which has 120 members, and the community is active in all sectors of Israeli life. Salim Joubran, a Christian Arab from Haifa, serves as a justice on the Israeli Supreme Court.
Samuha, speaking to the Israeli news outlet Ynet, noted that 71 percent of Israel Arabs felt that Israel was a good place to live, while 60 percent said they felt it was a home and a homeland.
"In Israel there are a lot of benefits and a modern way of life, as well as economic and political stability. You can't compare the lives of Arabs in the Galilee to that of Arabs in Palestine, Lebanon, or Egypt. There is also the element that in Israel there is no concern of an Islamist takeover."
The survey comprised 715 Israeli Arabs.