Only 14% of Israeli Arabs Identify as ‘Palestinians’, Study Finds

“For not as man sees [does Hashem see]; man sees only what is visible, but Hashem sees into the heart.” I Samuel 16:7 (The Israel Bible™)

Among Israeli Arabs, only 14 percent identify themselves as “Palestinians,” and they are mostly Muslims, a new study found.

The Arab citizens of Israel represent a little more than 20 percent of the state’s overall population, 83.5 percent of whom are Muslims, 8.9 percent Christians, and 7.6 percent Druze. According to the new study (Jews and Arabs: Conditional Partnership), issued by The Israel Democracy Institute, the complex relationship between Jews and Arabs in the State of Israel exists on three levels that do not necessarily overlap: state, societal and interpersonal.

On the one hand, the study shows that definite, substantial disagreements exist between Jews and Arabs on the state level, but, at the same time, relations on the societal and, even more so, on personal levels, are less tense. In certain areas of life, the study found, the situation is actually quite positive.

In the area of self-definition, as a rule, those Jewish Israelis who self-identify primarily as Jews tend to express more discriminatory and exclusionary opinions regarding Arabs than those who self-identify as Israeli, according to the study. The self-definition as “Palestinian” as a primary identity is more common among Muslims, young educated people, and those who have first-degree relatives living in Judea and Samaria.

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The minority that self-identifies as Palestinian tends to express more critical opinions of the State of Israel, Jews and Israelis. In addition, they are more skeptical regarding the possibility of their being able to integrate into Israeli society.

The self-definition of Israeli Arabs broke down into Arab identity – 39 percent; Religious identity (Muslim, Christian, Druze) – 34 percent; Palestinian identity – 14 percent; Israeli identity – 10 percent.

The self-definition of Israeli Jews was: Israeli identity – 38 percent; Jewish identity – 29 percent; Religious identity – 23.5 percent; Ethnic identity – 4 percent.

The same study found that 68 percent of Jews believe that it is not possible to feel part of the Palestinian people and still be a loyal citizen of the State of Israel. Only on the Jewish left-wing there is a majority that sees such a possibility as feasible. However, 54 percent of Arabs feel part of Israeli society – but 69 percent of Arabs believe that Jews do not see them as part of Israeli society, very close to the actual number: 63 percent of Jews believe that Arabs feel that they are not part of Israeli society.

Finally, 52 percent of Jews believe that it would be better for Jews and Arabs to live separately so that the Jews can preserve their Jewish identity – while 7 percent of Arabs do not want to live separately.