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This article is about the Arab segment of Israeli citizens. For Palestinians as a whole, see Palestinian people.
Arab citizens of Israel
عرب إسرائيل (العرب الإسرائيليون)‏
ערבים אזרחי ישראל
Emilie HabibiAhmed TibiBoutros Mouallem.jpg
MUGLI.JPGSamih al-qasim.jpgSalimTuama.png
Juliano mer khamis.jpgRaleb Magedla.jpg
Umayya abu-hanna.jpgMira awad.jpg
Notable Arab citizens of Israel:

Emile Habibi  • Ahmad Tibi  • Boutros Mouallem  • Majalli Wahabi  • Samih al-Qasim  • Salim Tuama  • Juliano Mer  • Ghaleb Majadele  • Umayya Abu-Hanna  • Mira Awad

Total population
over 1,144,000
over 270,000 in East Jerusalem
and the Golan Heights (2008)
20% of Israeli population[1]
Regions with significant populations

Palestinian Arabic and Hebrew


Islam 83% (mostly Sunni), Christianity 8.5% and Druze 8.3%[1]

Map of Arab population, 2000

Arab citizens of Israel[2] is a phrase used to refer to the legal Israeli citizens or residents whose cultural and linguistic heritage or ethnic identity is Arab.[3]

The traditional and current vernacular of Arab citizens, irrespective of religion, is the Arabic language, or more precisely, the Palestinian dialect of Arabic. Most Arab citizens of Israel are functionally bilingual, their second language being Modern Hebrew. By religious affiliation, most are Muslim, particularly of the Sunni branch of Islam. There is a significant Arab Christian minority from various denominations, as well as Druze, among other religious communities. Jews of Arab extraction are not considered to form part of this population.

As of 2008, Arab citizens of Israel comprise just over 20% of the country's total population. The majority of these identify themselves as Arab or Palestinian by nationality and Israeli by citizenship.[3][4][5] Many have family ties to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as to Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Negev Bedouins tend to identify more as Israelis than other Arab citizens of Israel.[6] Unlike other Arabs, the Druze are drafted into the Israel Defense Forces, just like Jews.[7][8]

Special cases include Arabs living in East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights, administered by Israel since the Six-Day War of 1967. The residents of East Jerusalem became permanent residents of Israel shortly after the war. Only a few of them accepted Israeli citizenship, and most of them keep close ties with the West Bank. They are allowed to vote for municipal services.[9] The mostly Druze residents of the Golan Heights are considered permanent residents under the Golan Heights Law of 1981. The vast majority have refused to accept full Israeli citizenship, choosing to retain their Syrian citizenship and identity.[10]



Terms used to refer to Arab citizens of Israel in the Arab media or Arabic cultural lexicon are "the Arabs of '48", "the Palestinians of '48",[11] or "the Arabs within" (عرب الداخل). These Arabic terms are not applied to the East Jerusalem Arab population or the Druze in the Golan Heights, since these territories were occupied by Israel in 1967. The majority of Israel's Arab citizens identify as Palestinian by nationality and Israeli by citizenship, generally identifying themselves as "Palestinian citizens of Israel" or "Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel."[3][4]

"Arab citizens of Israel", "Arabs of Israel", "Arab Israelis", "Israeli Arabs", "Minorities", "Arab population of Israel", "Arab inhabitants", or the "Arab sector" are terms used by the Israeli government, Israeli Jews, and by the Hebrew-speaking media in Israel, to refer to Arabs that are citizens and/or residents of the State of Israel.[12][13][14] The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics defines the area covered in its statistics survey as including East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. As a result, the number of Arabs in Israel is calculated as just over 20% of the Israeli population (2008).[1]



1948 Arab-Israeli War

Most Israelis refer to the 1948 Arab–Israeli War as the War of Independence, while most Arab citizens refer to it as the Nakba (catastrophe), a reflection of differences in perception of the purpose and outcomes of the war.[15][16]

In the aftermath of the 1948 war, British Mandate of Palestine was de facto divided into three parts: the State of Israel, the Jordanian-held West Bank, and the Egyptian-held Gaza Strip. Of the estimated 950,000 Arabs that lived in the territory that became Israel before the war,[11] over 80% left. While it is disputed how many fled or were expelled; some 156,000 remained.[17] Benny Morris says

Most of Palestine's 700,000 "refugees" fled their homes because of the flail of war (and in the expectation that they would shortly return to their homes on the backs of victorious Arab invaders). But it is also true that there were several dozen sites, including Lydda and Ramla, from which Arab communities were expelled by Jewish troops.[18]

Arab citizens of Israel are largely composed of these people and their descendants. Others include some from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank who procured Israeli citizenship under family-unification provisions that were recently made significantly more stringent.[19]

Arabs who left their homes during the period of armed conflict, but remained in what had become Israeli territory, were considered to be "present absentees". In some cases, they were refused permission to return to their homes, which were expropriated and turned over to state ownership, as was the property of other Palestinian refugees.[20][21] Some 274,000, or 1 of every 4 Arab citizens of Israel are "present absentees" or internally displaced Palestinians.[22][23] Notable cases of "present absentees" include the residents of Saffuriyya and the Galilee villages of Kafr Bir'im and Iqrit.[24]

In Israel, Independence Day takes place on 5 Iyar according to the Hebrew calendar, which means it falls on different dates every year under the Gregorian calendar. Arab citizens of Israel generally mark al-Nakba both on this day, and on May 15, as do other Palestinians.[25] Druze soldiers, however, were present at Israel's first Independence Day Parade in 1949,[26] and there have since been parades for Druze and Circassians, as well as special events for Bedouins, on Independence Day.[27]


While most Arabs remaining in Israel were granted citizenship, they were subject to martial law in the early years of the state.[28][29] Travel permits, curfews, administrative detentions, and expulsions were part of life until 1966. A variety of legal measures facilitated the transfer of land abandoned by Arabs to state ownership. These included the Absentee Property Law of 1950 which allowed the state to take control of land belonging to land owners who emigrated to other countries, and the Land Acquisition Law of 1953 which authorized the Ministry of Finance to transfer expropriated land to the state. Other common legal expedients included the use of emergency regulations to declare land belonging to Arab citizens a closed military zone, followed by the use of Ottoman legislation on abandoned land to take control of the land.[30]

In 1965, the first attempt was made to stand an independent Arab list for Knesset elections, with the radical group al-Ard forming the Arab Socialist List. The list was banned by the Israeli Central Elections Committee.[31]

In 1966, martial law was lifted completely, and the government set about dismantling most of the discriminatory laws, while Arab citizens were, theoretically if not always in practice, granted the same rights as Jewish citizens.[32]


A monument for the residents of Arraba whom were killed during the Arab-Israeli conflict located at the Arab village of Arraba in the Galilee

The Six Day War marked a dramatic turning point in the lives of Israel's Arab citizens. For the first time since Israel's establishment, Arab citizens had contact with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This along with the lifting of military rule, led to increased political activism among Arab citizens.[33][34]

In 1974, a committee of Arab mayors and municipal councilmen was established which played an important role in representing the community and pressuring the Israeli government.[35] This was followed in 1975 by the formation of the Committee for the Defense of the Land, which sought to prevent continuing land expropriations.[36] That same year, a political breakthrough took place with the election of Arab poet Tawfiq Ziad, a Maki member, as mayor of Nazareth, accompanied by a strong communist presence in the town council.[37] In 1976, six Arab citizens of Israel were killed by Israeli security forces at a protest against land expropriations and house demolitions. The date of the protest, March 30, has since been commemorated annually as Land Day.

The 1980s saw the birth of the Islamic Movement. As part of a larger trend in the Arab World, the Islamic Movement emphasized moving Islam into the political realm. The Islamic movement built schools, provided other essential social services, constructed mosques, and encouraged prayer and conservative Islamic dress. The Islamic Movement began to have an impact on electoral politics particularly at the local level.[38]

Many Arab citizens supported the First Intifada and assisted Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, providing them with money, food, and clothes. A number of strikes were also held by Arab citizens in solidarity with Palestinians in the occupied territories.[38]

The years leading up to the Oslo Accords were a time of optimism for Arab citizens. During the administration of Yitzhak Rabin, Arab parties played an important role in the formation of a governing coalition. Increased participation of Arab citizens was also seen at the civil society level. However, tension continued to exist with many Arabs calling for Israel to become a "state of all its citizens", thereby challenging the state's Jewish identity. During the 1999 elections for Prime Minister, 94% of the Arab electorate voted for Ehud Barak. However, Barak formed a broad left-right-center government without consulting the Arab parties, disappointing the Arab community.[33]


Tensions between Arabs and the state rose in October 2000 when 12 Arab citizens of Israel and one man from Gaza were killed while protesting the government's response to the Second Intifada. In response to this incident, the government established the Or Commission. The events of October 2000 caused many Israeli Arabs to question the nature of their citizenship. To a large extent, they boycotted the 2001 Israeli Elections as a means of protest.[33] Israeli Arabs' boycott of 2001 elections paradoxically helped Ariel Sharon defeat Ehud Barak. In 1999 elections, more than 90 percent of the Israeli Arab minority had voted for Ehud Barak.[39] IDF enlistment by Bedouin citizens of Israel dropped significantly.[40]

During the 2006 Lebanon War, Arab advocacy organizations complained that the Israeli government had invested time and effort to protect Jewish citizens from Hezbollah attacks, but had neglected Arab citizens. They pointed to a dearth of bomb shelters in Arab towns and villages and a lack of basic emergency information in Arabic.[41] Many Israeli Jews viewed the Arab opposition to government policy and sympathy with the Lebanese as a sign of disloyalty.[42]

In October 2006, tensions rose when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert invited a right-wing political party Yisrael Beiteinu, to join his coalition government. The party leader, Avigdor Lieberman, advocated the transfer of heavily populated Arab areas (such as Umm al-Fahm) to the Palestinian Authority as part of a peace proposal.[43]

In January 2007 the first non-Druze Arab minister in Israel's history, Raleb Majadele, was appointed minister without portfolio (Salah Tarif, a Druze, had been appointed a minister without portfolio in 2001). The appointment was criticized by the left, which felt it was an attempt to cover up the Labor Party's decision to sit with Yisrael Beiteinu in the government, and by the right, who saw it as a threat to Israel's status as a Jewish state.[44][45]

Ethnic and religious groupings

In 2006, the official number of Arab residents in Israel - including East Jerusalem permanent residents many of whom are not citizens - was 1,413,500 people, about 20% of Israel’s population.[46] According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (May 2003), Muslims, including Bedouins, make up 82% of the entire Arab population in Israel, with around 9% Druze, and 9% Christians.[47]

The national language and mother tongue of Arab citizens, including the Druze, is Arabic and the colloquial spoken language is of the Palestinian Arabic dialect. Knowledge and command of Modern Standard Arabic varies.[48]


Outside of the Bedouin population, traditionally settled communities of Muslim Arabs comprise about 70% of the Arab population in Israel.

Muslims in Israel have the highest birthrate of any group: 4.0 children per woman, as opposed to 2.7 for Jewish Israelis, a natural reproduction rate of 3% compared to 1.5%.[49] Around 25% of the children in Israel today were born to Muslim parents. The Muslim population is mostly young: 42% of Muslims are children under the age of 15, compared with 26% of the Jewish population. The median age of Muslim Israelis is 18, while the median age of Jewish Israelis is 30. The percentage of people over 65 is less than 3% for Muslims, compared with 12% for the Jewish population.[47] According to forecasts, the Muslim population will grow to over 2,000,000 people, or 24-26% of the population within the next 15 years. They will also comprise 85% of the Arab population in Israeli in 2020 (up 3% from 2005).[50] See the section on Demographics for more on this issue.


According to the Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel, 110,000 Bedouins live in the Negev, 50,000 in the Galilee, and 10,000 in the central region of Israel.[51]

The term "Bedouin" ("Badawi" or "Baddu" in Arabic) defines a range of nomadic desert-dwelling ethnic groups spanning from the western Sahara desert to the Nejd desert including one of its arms, the Negev ("Naqab" in Arabic). Through the latter half of the 19th century, the traditionally pastoral nomadic Bedouin in Palestine began transitioning to a semi-nomadic pastoral agricultural community, with an emphasis on agricultural production and the privatization of tribal lands.[52]

Prior to the establishment of Israel in 1948, there were an estimated 65,000-90,000 Bedouin living in the Negev.[52] The 11,000 who remained were relocated by the Israeli government in the 1950s and 1960s to an area called the siyag ("enclosure" or, "fence") made up of relatively infertile land in the northeastern Negev comprising 10% of the Negev desert.[52] Negev Bedouins, like the rest of the Arab population in Israel, lived under military rule up to 1966, after which restrictions were lifted and they were free to move outside the siyag as well. However, even after 1966 they were not free to reside outside of the siyag; they came to reside within 2% of the Negev[53] and never returned to their former range. Seven government-built townships were established in the siyag area where roughly half of Israel's Bedouin population live today,[52] centered around the largest legal Bedouin locality in Israel, Rahat. The Israeli government encourages Bedouin to settle as permanent residents in these development towns, but the other half of the Negev Bedouin population continues to live in 45 "unrecognized villages," some of which predate the existence of Israel.[52] These villages do not appear on any commercial maps, and are denied basic services like water, electricity, and schools. It is forbidden by the Israeli authorities for the residents of these villages to build permanent structures, though many do, risking fines and home demolition.[52]


The Druze are members of a sect residing in many countries, although predominantly in mountainous regions in Israel, Lebanon, and Syria. Druze in Israel live mainly in the north, notably in Carmel City, near Haifa. There are also Druze localities in the Golan Heights, such as Majdal Shams, which were captured in 1967 from Syria and annexed to Israel in 1981.

It is in keeping with Druze religious practice to always serve the country in which they live.[54] So while the Druze population in Israel are Arabic speakers like their counterparts in Syria and Lebanon, they often consider themselves Israeli and unlike the Arab Muslims and Arab Christians in Israel they rarely identify themselves as Palestinians.[55] As early as 1939, the leadership of one Druze village formally allied itself with pre-Israeli militias, like the Haganah.[7] A separate "Israeli Druze" identity was encouraged by the Israeli government who formally recognized the Druze religious community as independent of the Muslim religious community in Israeli law as early as 1957.[56]

The Druze are defined as a distinct ethnic group in the Israeli Ministry of Interior's census registration. While the Israeli education system is basically divided into Hebrew and Arabic speaking schools, the Druze have autonomy within the Arabic speaking branch.[56]

Samih al-Qasim

The Druze of British Mandate of Palestine showed little interest in Arab nationalism that was on the rise in the 20th century, and did not take part in the early Arab-Jewish skirmishes of the era either. By 1948, many young Druze volunteered for the Israeli army and actively fought on their side. Unlike their Christian and Muslim counterparts, no Druze villages were destroyed in the 1948 war and no Druze left their settlements permanently.[23] Unlike most other Arab citizens of Israel, right-wing Israeli political parties have appealed to many Druze. Ayoob Kara, for example, represented the conservative Likud in the Knesset, and other parties such as Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu have likewise attracted Druze voters.[citation needed] Currently, a Druze MK, Majalli Wahabi of the centrist Kadima, as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, is next in line to the acting presidency.[57]


Christian Arabs comprise about 9% of the Arab population in Israel, and approximately 70% reside in the North District (Israel) in the towns of Jish, Eilabun, Kafr Yasif, Kafr Kanna, I'billin, and Shefa-'Amr while many reside in Nazareth. Several other villages, including a number of Druze villages such as Hurfeish and Maghar, are inhabited by Christian Arabs.[47] Nazareth has the largest Christian Arab population. There are 117,000 or more Christian Arabs in Israel.[58] Christian Arabs have been prominent in Arab political parties in Israel and these leaders have included Archbishop George Hakim, Emile Toma, Tawfik Toubi, Emile Habibi, and Azmi Bishara.

Notable Christian religious figures in Israel include the Melkite Archbishops of the Galilee Elias Chacour and Boutros Mouallem, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah, and Bishop Munib Younan of the Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land.

The only non-Jewish Arab judge to receive a permanent appointment to preside over Israel's Supreme Court is a Christian Arab, Salim Joubran.


The relationship of Arab citizens to the State of Israel is often fraught with tension and can be regarded in the context of relations between minority populations and state authorities elsewhere in the world.[59] Arab citizens consider themselves to be an indigenous people.[60] The tension between their Palestinian Arab national identity and their identity as citizens of Israel was famously described by an Arab public figure as, "My state is at war with my nation".[61]

According to the 2008 National Resilience Survey, conducted by Tel Aviv University, 43% of Muslims refer to themselves as "Palestinian-Arabs"; only 15% defined themselves as "Arab-Israelis" and four percent of those surveyed said they considered themselves "Muslim-Israelis". According to the same survey, 24% of Christians in Israel said they defined themselves as "Arab-Palestinians", 24% referred to themselves as "Arab-Israelis", and an equal number of respondents said they considered themselves "Christian-Israelis". In 2008 more than 94% of Druze youngsters classified themselves as "Druze-Israelis" in the religious and national context (the Ynet article reporting the findings does not mention self-identification as "Arab citizens of Israel" or "Palestinian citizens of Israel" as an option).

Arabs living in East Jerusalem, occupied and administered by Israel since the Six-Day War of 1967, are a special case. They became permanent residents of Israel shortly after the war. Although they hold Israeli ID cards, few have applied for Israeli citizenship, to which they are entitled, and most maintain close ties with the West Bank.[9] As permanent residents, they are eligible to vote in Jerusalem's municipal elections, although only a small percentage takes advantage of this right.

The remaining Druze population of the Golan Heights, occupied and administered by Israel in 1967, are considered permanent residents under the Golan Heights Law of 1981. Few have accepted full Israeli citizenship and the vast majority consider themselves citizens of Syria.[62]


Arab citizens of Israel form a majority of the population (52%) in Israel's Northern District[1] and about 50% of the Arab population lives in 114 different localities throughout Israel.[63] In total there are 122 primarily if not entirely Arab localities in Israel, 89 of them having populations over two thousand.[64] The seven townships as well as the Abu Basma Regional Council that have been constructed by the government for the Bedouin population of the Negev,[65] are the only Arab localities to have been established since 1948, with the aim of relocating the Arab Bedouin citizens (see above section on Bedouin).

46% of the country’s Arabs (622,400 people) live in predominantly-Arab communities in the north.[1] Nazareth is the largest Arab city, with a population of 65,000, roughly 40,000 of whom are Muslim. Shefa-'Amr has a population of approximately 32,000 and the city is mixed with sizable populations of Muslims, Christians, and Druze.

Jerusalem, a mixed city, has the largest overall Arab population. Jerusalem housed 209,000 Arabs in 2000 and they make up some 33% of the city’s residents and together with the local council of Abu Ghosh, some 19% of the country’s entire Arab population.

14% of Arab citizens live in the Haifa District predominantly in the Wadi Ara region. Here is the largest Muslim city, Umm al-Fahm, with a population of 43,000. Baqa-Jatt and Carmel City are the two second largest Arab population centers in the district. The city of Haifa has an Arab population of 9%, much of it in the Wadi Nisnas neighborhood.

10% of the country's Arab population resides in the Center District of Israel, primarily the cities of Tayibe, Tira, and Qalansawe as well as the mixed cities of Lod and Ramla which have mainly Jewish populations.[47]

Of the remaining 11%, 10% live in Bedouin communities in the northwestern Negev. The Bedouin city of Rahat is the only Arab city in the South District and it is the third largest Arab city in Israel.

The remaining 1% of the country's Arab population lives in cities that are almost entirely Jewish such as, Nazareth Illit with an Arab population of 9% and Tel Aviv-Yafo, 4%.[47][63]

In February 2008, the government announced that the first new Arab city would be constructed in Israel. According to Haaretz, "[s]ince the establishment of the State of Israel, not a single new Arab settlement has been established, with the exception of permanent housing projects for Bedouins in the Negev."[66]

Major Arab localities

Arabs make up the majority of the population of the "heart of the Galilee" and of the areas along the Green Line including the Wadi Ara region. Bedouin Arabs make up the majority of the northeastern section of the Negev.

Nazareth which is a mixed settlement of Muslims and Christians is the largest Arab city in Israel.
Umm al-Fahm is the second largest Arab city in Israel and the largest Muslim settlement in Israel.
Rahat is the third largest Arab city in Israel and the largest Bedouin settlement in Israel.
Significant population centers
Locality Population District
Nazareth 66,300 North
Umm al-Fahm 44,400 Haifa
Rahat 43,700 South
Tayibe 35,500 Center
Shefa-'Amr 34,900 North
Baqa-Jatt 33,100 Haifa
Shaghur 30,500 North
Tamra 27,800 North
Sakhnin 25,500 North
Carmel City 25,200 Haifa
Tira 21,900 Center
Arraba 21,100 North
Maghar 19,600 North
Kafr Kanna 18,800 North
Kafr Qasim 18,500 Center

[citation needed]

Perceived demographic threat

In the northern part of Israel the percentage of Jewish population is declining.[67] The increasing population of Arabs within Israel, and the majority status they hold in two major geographic regions — the Galilee and the Triangle — has become a growing point of open political contention in recent years. Dr. Wahid Abd Al-Magid, the editor of Al-Ahram Weekly's "Arab Strategic Report" predicts that "The Arabs of 1948 (i.e. Arabs who stayed within the bounds of Israel and accepted citizenship) may become a majority in Israel in 2035, and they will certainly be the majority in 2048."[68] Among Arabs, Muslims have the highest birth rate, followed by Druze, and then Christians.[69] The phrase demographic threat (or demographic bomb) is used within the Israeli political sphere to describe the growth of Israel's Arab citizenry as constituting a threat to its maintenance of its status as a Jewish state with a Jewish demographic majority.

Israeli historian Benny Morris stated in 2004:

The Israeli Arabs are a time bomb. Their slide into complete Palestinization has made them an emissary of the enemy that is among us. They are a potential fifth column. In both demographic and security terms they are liable to undermine the state. So that if Israel again finds itself in a situation of existential threat, as in 1948, it may be forced to act as it did then. If we are attacked by Egypt (after an Islamist revolution in Cairo) and by Syria, and chemical and biological missiles slam into our cities, and at the same time Israeli Palestinians attack us from behind, I can see an expulsion situation. It could happen. If the threat to Israel is existential, expulsion will be justified[...][70]

The term "demographic bomb" was famously used by Benjamin Netanyahu in 2003[71] when he noted that if the percentage of Arab citizens rises above its current level of about 20 percent, Israel will not be able to maintain a Jewish demographic majority. Netanyahu's comments were criticized as racist by Arab Knesset members and a range of civil rights and human rights organizations, such as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.[72] Even earlier allusions to the "demographic threat" can be found in an internal Israeli government document drafted in 1976 known as the Koenig Memorandum, which laid out a plan for reducing the number and influence of Arab citizens of Israel in the Galilee region.

In 2003, the Israeli daily Ma’ariv published an article entitled, "Special Report: Polygamy is a Security Threat," detailing a report put forth by the Director of the Population Administration at the time, Herzl Gedj; the report described polygamy in the Bedouin sector a “security threat” and advocated means of reducing the birth rate in the Arab sector.[73] The Population Administration is a department of the Demographic Council, whose purpose, according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics is: “ increase the Jewish birthrate by encouraging women to have more children using government grants, housing benefits, and other incentives.”[74] In 2008 the Minister of the Interior appointed Yaakov Ganot as new head of the Population Administration, which according to Haaretz is "probably the most important appointment an interior minister can make."[75]

Land and population exchange

Some Israeli politicians advocate land-swap proposals in order to assure a continued Jewish majority within Israel. A specific proposal is that Israel transfer sovereignty of part of the Arab-populated Wadi Ara area (west of the Green Line) to a future Palestinian state, in return for formal sovereignty over the major Jewish settlement "blocks" that lie inside the West Bank east of the Green Line.[76]

Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beiteinu, the fourth largest faction in the 17th Knesset, is one of the foremost advocates of the transfer of large Arab towns located just inside Israel near the border with the West Bank (e.g. Tayibe, Umm al-Fahm, Baqa al-Gharbiyye), to the jurisdiction of the Palestinian National Authority in exchange for Israeli settlements located inside the West Bank.[77][78][79][80][81][82][83][84] As the London Times notes: "Lieberman plans to strengthen Israel’s status as a Jewish state by transferring 500,000 of its minority Arab population to the West Bank, by the simple expedient of redrawing the West Bank to include several Arab Israeli towns in northern Israel. Another 500,000 would be stripped of their right to vote if they failed to pledge loyalty to Zionism."[85]

In October 2006, Yisrael Beiteinu formally joined in the ruling government's parliamentary coalition, headed by Kadima. After the Israeli Cabinet confirmed Avigdor Lieberman's appointment to the position of Minister for Strategic Threats, Labour Party representative and Science, Sport and Culture Minister Ophir Pines-Paz, resigned his post.[43][86] In his resignation letter to Ehud Olmert, Pines-Paz wrote, "I couldn't sit in a government with a minister who preaches racism."[87]

The Lieberman Plan caused a stir among Arab citizens of Israel, because it explicitly treats them as an enemy within. Various polls show that Arabs in Israel do not wish to move to the West Bank or Gaza if a Palestinian state is created there.[88]

Birth rates

A January 2006 study rejects the "demographic time bomb" threat based on statistical data that shows Jewish births have increased while Arab births have begun to drop.[89] The study noted shortcomings in earlier demographic predictions (for example, in the 1960s, predictions suggested that Arabs would be the majority in 1990). The study also demonstrated that Christian Arab and Druze birth rates were actually below those of Jewish birth rates in Israel. The study used data from a Gallup poll to demonstrate that the desired family size for Arabs in Israel and Jewish Israelis were the same. The study's population forecast for 2025 predicted that Arabs would comprise only 25.0% of the Israeli population. Nevertheless, the Bedouin population, with its high birth rates, continues to be perceived as a threat to a Jewish demographic majority in the south, and a number of development plans, such as the Blueprint Negev, address this concern.[90]

Arab citizens in the diaspora

Political life

Arab political parties

There are three mainstream Arab parties in Israel: Hadash (a joint Arab-Jewish party with a large Arab presence), Balad, and the United Arab List, which is a coalition of several different political organizations including the Islamic Movement. In addition to these, Ahmad Tibi's Ta'al faction has been elected to the last two Knessets as part of alliances with Hadash and the United Arab List. Two Arab parties ran in Israel's first election in 1949, with one, the Democratic List of Nazareth, winning two seats. Until the 1960s all Arab parties in the Knesset were aligned with Mapai, the ruling party.

A minority of Arabs join and vote for Zionist parties; in the 2006 elections 30% of the Arab vote went to such parties, up from 25% in 2003,[91] though down on the 1999 (30.5%) and 1996 elections (33.4%).[92] Left-wing parties (i.e. Labor Party and Meretz-Yachad, and previously One Nation) are the most popular parties amongst Arabs, though some Druze have also voted for right-wing parties such as Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu, as well as the centrist Kadima.[93][94]

Representation in the Knesset

Palestinian Arabs sat in the state's first parliamentary assembly; currently, 12 of the 120 members of the Israeli Parliament are Arab citizens, most representing Arab political parties, and one of Israel's Supreme Court judges is a Palestinian Arab.[95]

Some Arab Members of the Knesset (MKs), past and present, are under police investigation for their visits to countries designated as "enemy countries" by Israeli law. This law was amended following MK Mohammad Barakeh's trip to Syria in 2001, such that MKs must explicitly request permission to visit these countries from the Minister of the Interior. In August 2006, Balad MKs Azmi Bishara, Jamal Zahalka, and Wasil Taha visited Syria without requesting nor receiving such permission, and a criminal investigation of their actions was launched. Former Arab Member of Knesset Muhammed Miari was questioned 18 September 2006 by police on suspicion of having entered an "enemy country" without official permission. He was questioned "under caution" for 2.5 hours in the Petah Tikva station about his recent visit to Syria. Another former Arab Member of Knesset, Muhammed Kanaan, has also been summoned for police questioning regarding the same trip.[96]

According to a study commissioned by the Arab Association of Human Rights entitled "Silencing Dissent," over the past three years, eight of nine of these Arab Knesset members have been beaten by Israeli forces during demonstrations.[97] Most recently according to the report, legislation has been passed, including three election laws [e.g., banning political parties], and two Knesset related laws aimed to "significantly curb the minority [Arab population] right to choose a public representative and for those representatives to develop independent political platforms and carry out their duties"[98]

Representation in the civil service sphere

In the public employment sphere, by the end of 2002, 6.1% of 56,362 Israeli civil servants were Arab.[99] In January 2004, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared that every state-run company must have at least one Arab citizen of Israel on its board of directors.[100]

Representation in political, judicial and military positions

Cabinet: Nawaf Massalha, an Arab Muslim, has served in various junior ministerial roles, including Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, since 1999.[101] Until 2001, no Arab had been included in a Prime Minister's cabinet, or invited to join any political coalition. In 2001, this changed, when Salah Tarif, a Druze Arab citizen of Israel, was appointed a member of Sharon's cabinet without a portfolio. Tarif was later ejected after being convicted of corruption.[102] In 2007 the first non-Druze Arab minister in Israel's history, Raleb Majadele, was appointed a minister without portfolio, and a month later appointed minister for Science, Culture and Sport.[44][103] The appointment of Majadele was criticized by far-right Israelis, some of whom are also within the Cabinet, but this drew condemnation across the mainstream Israeli political spectrum.[45][104] Meanwhile Arab lawmakers called the appointment an attempt to "whitewash Israel's discriminatory policies against its Arab minority".[105][106]

Knesset: Arab citizens of Israel have been elected to every Knesset, and currently hold 12 of its 120 seats. The first female Arab MP was Hussniya Jabara, a Muslim Arab from central Israel, who was elected in 1999.[107]

Supreme Court: Abdel Rahman Zuabi, a secular Muslim from northern Israel, was the first Arab on the Israeli Supreme Court, serving a 9-month term in 1999. In 2004, Salim Joubran, a Christian Arab from Haifa descended from Lebanese Maronites, became the first Arab to hold a permanent appointment on the Court. Jubran's expertise lies in the field of criminal law.[108]

Foreign Service: Ali Yahya, an Arab Muslim, became the first Arab ambassador for Israel in 1995 when he was appointed ambassador to Finland. He served until 1999, and in 2006 was appointed ambassador to Greece. Other Arab ambassadors include Walid Mansour, a Druze, appointed ambassador to Vietnam in 1999, and Reda Mansour, also a Druze, a former ambassador to Ecuador. Mohammed Masarwa, an Arab Muslim, was Consul-General in Atlanta. In 2006, Ishmael Khaldi was appointed Israeli consul in San Francisco, becoming the first Bedouin consul of the State of Israel.[109]

Israel Defense Forces: Arab Generals in the IDF include Major General Hussain Fares, commander of Israel's border police, and Major General Yosef Mishlav, head of the Home Front Command and current Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.[110] Both are members of the Druze community. Other high ranking officers in the IDF include Lieutenant Colonel Amos Yarkoni (born Abd el-Majid Hidr/ عبد الماجد حيدر) from the Bedouin community, a legendary officer in the Israel Defense Forces and one of six Israeli Arabs to have received the IDF's third highest decoration, the Medal of Distinguished Service.

Jewish National Fund: In 2007, Ra'adi Sfori became the first Arab citizen of Israel to be elected as a JNF director, over a petition against his appointment. The court upheld the JNF's appointment, explaining, "As this is one director among a large number, there is no chance he will have the opportunity to cancel the organization's goals."[111]

Other political organizations and movements

Abna el-Balad: Abnaa el-Balad[112] is a political movement that grew out of organizing by Arab university youth, beginning in 1969, that has experienced harassment by the Israeli authorities.[113][114] It is not affiliated with the Arab Knesset party Balad. While participating in municipal elections, Abnaa al-Balad firmly reject any participation in the Israeli Knesset. Political demands include " the return of all Palestinian refugees to their homes and lands, [an] end [to] the Israeli occupation and Zionist apartheid and the establishment [of] a democratic secular state in Palestine as the ultimate solution to the Arab-Zionist conflict."[115]

High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel The High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel is an extra-parliamentary umbrella organization that represents Arab citizens of Israel at the national level.[116] It is "the top representative body deliberating matters of general concern to the entire Arab community and making binding decisions."[117] While it enjoys de facto recognition from the State of Israel, it lacks official or de jure recognition from the state for its activities in this capacity.[116]

Ta'ayush: Ta'ayush is "a grassroots movement of Arabs and Jews working to break down the walls of racism and segregation by constructing a true Arab-Jewish partnership."[118]

Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages: The Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages is a body of unofficial representatives of the 40-something unrecognized villages throughout the Negev region in the south, whose residents have little representation as compared with those in recognized municipalities.

Legal and political status

Israel's Declaration of Independence called for the establishment of a Jewish state with equality of social and political rights, irrespective of religion, race, or sex.[119]

The rights of citizens are guaranteed by a set of basic laws (Israel does not have a written constitution).[120] Although this set of laws does not explicitly include the term "right to equality", the Israeli Supreme Court has consistently interpreted "Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty"[121] and "Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation (1994)"[122] as guaranteeing equal rights for all Israeli citizens.[123]

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that "Arab Israelis are citizens of Israel with equal rights" and states that "The only legal distinction between Arab and Jewish citizens is not one of rights, but rather of civic duty. Since Israel's establishment, Arab citizens have been exempted from compulsory service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)."[124] Druze and Circassians are drafted into the Israeli army, while other Arabs may serve voluntarily; however, only a very small number of Arabs choose to volunteer for the Israeli army.[citation needed]

Many Arab citizens feel that the state, as well as society at large, not only actively limits them to second-class citizenship, but treats them as enemies, impacting their perception of the de jure versus de facto quality of their citizenship.[125] The joint document The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel, asserts: "Defining the Israeli State as a Jewish State and exploiting democracy in the service of its Jewishness excludes us, and creates tension between us and the nature and essence of the State." The document explains that by definition the "Jewish State" concept is based on ethnically preferential treatment towards Jews enshrined in immigration (the Law of Return) and land policy (the Jewish National Fund), and calls for the establishment of minority rights protections enforced by an independent anti-discrimination commission.[126]

A 2004 report by Mossawa, an advocacy center for Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel, states that since the events of October 2000, 16 Arabs had been killed by security forces, bringing the total to 29 victims of "institutional violence" in four years.[127] Ahmed Sa'adi, in his article on The Concept of Protest and its Representation by the Or Commission claims that since 1948 the only protestors to be killed by the police have been Arabs.[128]

Jewish National Fund

The Jewish National Fund is a private organization established in 1901 to buy and develop land in the Land of Israel for Jewish settlement; land purchases were funded by donations from world Jewry exclusively for that purpose.[129] The JNF currently owns 13% of land in Israel,[130][131] while 79.5% is owned by the government (this land is leased on a non-discriminatory basis)[citation needed], and the rest, around 6.5%, is evenly divided between private Arab and Jewish owners.[132] Thus, the ILA administers 93.5% of the land in Israel (Government Press Office, Israel, 22 May 1997). A significant portion of JNF lands were originally properties left behind by Palestinian "absentees" and as a result the legitimacy of some JNF land ownership has been a matter of dispute.[129][133][134][135] The JNF purchased these lands from the State of Israel between 1949 and 1953, after the state took control of them according to the Absentee Properties Law.[136][137] While the JNF charter specifies the land is for the use of the Jewish People, land has been leased to Bedouin herders.[138] Nevertheless, JNF land policy has been criticized as discrimination.[136] When the Israel Land Administration leased JNF land to Arabs, it took control of the land in question and compensated the JNF with an equivalent amount of land in areas not designated for development (generally in the Galilee and the Negev), thus ensuring that the total amount of land owned by the JNF remains the same.[137][139] This was a complicated and controversial mechanism, and in 2004 use of it was suspended. After Supreme Court discussions and a directive by the Attorney General instructing the ILA to lease JNF land to Arabs and Jews alike, in September 2007 the JNF suggested reinstating the land-exchange mechanism.[137][140]

While the JNF and the ILA view an exchange of lands as a long-term solution, opponents say that such maneuvers privatize municipal lands and preserve a situation in which significant lands in Israel are not available for use by all of its citizens.[131] As of 2007, the High Court delayed ruling on JNF policy regarding leasing lands to non-Jews,[131] and changes to the ILA-JNF relationship were up in the air.[137] Adalah and other organizations furthermore express concern that proposed severance of the relation between the ILA and JNF, as suggested by Ami Ayalon, would leave the JNF free to retain the same proportion of lands for Jewish uses as it seeks to settle hundreds of thousands of Jews in areas with a tenuous Jewish demographic majority (in particular, 100,000 Jews in existing Galilee communities[136] and 250,000 Jews in new Negev communities via the Blueprint Negev[141]).

Arabic and Hebrew as official languages

Arabic is de jure one of Israel's official languages, and the use of Arabic increased significantly following Supreme Court rulings in the 1990s. Government ministries publish all material intended for the public in Hebrew, with selected material translated into Arabic, English, Russian, and other languages spoken in Israel. There are laws which secure the Arab population right to receive information in Arabic. Some examples include a portion of the public television channels' productions must be in Arabic or translated into Arabic, safety regulations in working places must be published in Arabic if a significant number of the workers are Arabs, information about medicines or dangerous chemicals must be provided in Arabic, and information regarding elections must be provided in Arabic. The country's laws are published in Hebrew, and eventually English and Arabic translations are published.[48] Publishing the law in Hebrew in the official gazette (reshumot) is enough to make it valid. Unavailability of an Arabic translation can be regarded as a legal defense only if the defendant proves he could not understand the meaning of the law in any conceivable way. Following appeals to the Israeli Supreme Court, the use of Arabic on street signs and labels increased dramatically. In response to one of the appeals presented by Arab Israeli organizations, the Supreme Court ruled that although second to Hebrew, Arabic is an official language of the State of Israel, and should be used extensively. Today most highway signage is trilingual (Hebrew, Arabic, and English). Many Arab villages lack street signs of any kind and the Hebrew name is often used.[142][143] Hebrew is the standard language of communication at places of work except inside the Arab community, and among recent immigrants, foreign workers, and with tourists. The state's schools in Arab communities teach in Arabic according to a specially adapted curriculum. This curriculum includes mandatory lessons of Hebrew as foreign language from the 3rd grade onwards. Arabic is taught in Hebrew-speaking schools, but only the basic level is mandatory. In the summer of 2008, there was an unsuccessful attempt of right-wing lawmakers to strip Arabic of its status alongside Hebrew as an official language of the state.[144]

Israeli national symbols

Some Arab politicians have requested a reevaluation of the Israeli flag and national anthem, arguing that the Star of David at the flag's center is an exclusively Jewish symbol. Defenders of the flag say that many flags in Europe bear crosses (such as the flags of Sweden, Finland, Norway, United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Greece), while flags in predominantly Muslim countries bear distinctive Muslim symbols (such as Turkey, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, and Saudi Arabia). The High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel and the National Committee for the Heads of the Arab Local Authorities in Israel addressed this accusation in 2006 thus:[145]

The Israeli legal system includes a number of core laws that produce and reinforce inequality between the Arabs and the Jews in Israel. [...] The official bias is not restricted to symbols such as the Israeli flag, but also to deeper legal issues concerning all Palestinian Arabs [...] [t]he official definition of Israel as a Jewish state created a fortified ideological barrier in the face of obtaining full equality for the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel [...] We, the Palestinians in Israel, are an integral part of this place [...] Israel has tried over the past decades to disengage us from this place, not through physical transfer but through intellectual emotional transfer. Israel has tried to create a new identity on the basis of 'loyalty to the state' [...] The State has not determined a position acceptable to us yet in terms of nurturing our Arab culture.

Attempts to ban Arab political parties

Amendment 9 to the 'Basic Law: The Knesset and the Law of Political Parties', states that a political party "may not participate in the elections if there is in its goals or actions a denial of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, a denial of the democratic nature of the state, or incitement to racism."[146][147] Although Arab parties have been repeatedly banned under this legislation, those bans have been overturned by the Supreme Court and the only party currently banned is the right-wing Jewish Kach party.[148]

An Israeli Central Elections Committee ruling which allowed the Progressive List for Peace to run for the Knesset in 1988 was challenged based on this amendment, but the committee's decision was upheld by the Israeli Supreme Court, which ruled that the PLP's platform calling for Israel to become "a state of all its citizens" does not violate the ideology of Israel as the State of the Jewish people, and thus section 7(a) does not apply.[149]

In December 2002, Azmi Bishara and his party, Balad, which calls for Israel to become "a state of all its citizens," were banned by the Israeli Central Elections Committee, for refusing to recognize Israel as a "Jewish democratic state"[150] and making statements promoting armed struggle against it. The Supreme Court overruled the decision in January 2003.[151] Later, in December 2005, Bishara told an audience in Lebanon that Arab citizens "[...]are like all Arabs, only with Israeli citizenship forced upon them [...] Return Palestine to us and take your democracy with you. We Arabs are not interested in it".[152]

In 2009, the Israeli Central Elections Committee banned two Arab parties from running in upcoming parliamentary elections. According to Haaretz, the requests to ban the Arab parties were filed by two ultra right parties Yisrael Beiteinu and National Union-National Religious Party. [153] Arab MKs charged that the ban was motivated by Anti-Arabism while the CEC accused the Arab parties of incitement, supporting terrorist groups, and refusing to recognize Israel's right to exist. The ban was later overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court.[154]

Citizenship and Entry Law

On July 31, 2003 Israel enacted the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Provision), 5763-2003, a one year amendment to Israel's Citizenship Law denying citizenship and Israeli residence to Palestinians who reside in the West Bank or Gaza Strip and who marry Israelis; the rule has been waived for any Palestinian "who identifies with the State of Israel and its goals, when he or a member of his family has taken concrete action to advance the security, economy or any other matter important to the State." Upon expiration the law was extended for six months in August 2004, and again for 4 months in February 2005.[155] On May 8, 2005, the Israeli ministerial committee for issues of legislation once again amended the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, to restrict citizenship and residence in Israel only to Palestinian men over the age of 35, and Palestinian women over the age of 25.

Defenders of the Citizenship and Entry Law say it is aimed at preventing terrorist attacks and preserving the "Jewish character" of Israel by restricting Arab immigration.[156] The new bill was formulated in accordance with Shin Bet statistics showing that involvement in terror attacks declines with age. This newest amendment, in practice, removes restrictions from half of the Palestinian population requesting legal status through marriage in Israel. This law was upheld by a High Court decision in 2006.[156]

Although this law theoretically applies to all Israelis, it has disproportionately affected Arab citizens of Israel;[157] Arabs are far more likely to have Palestinian spouses than other Israelis.[158] Thus the law has been widely considered discriminatory[159] and the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has unanimously approved a resolution saying that the Israeli law violated an international human rights treaty against racism.[160]

Economic development

Inequality in the allocation of public funding for Jewish and Arab needs, and widespread employment discrimination, present significant economic hurdles for Arab citizens of Israel.[161] On the other hand, the Minorities at Risk (MAR) group also states that despite discrimination, Arabs in Israel "are relatively much better off economically than neighboring Arabs."[162]

The predominant feature of the Arab community's economic development after 1949 was its transformation from a predominantly peasant farming population to a proletarian industrial workforce. It has been suggested that the economic development of the community was marked by distinct stages. The first period, until 1967, was characterised by this process of proletarianisation. From 1967 on, economic development of the population was encouraged and an Arab bourgeoisie began to develop on the margin of the Jewish bourgeoisie. From the 1980s on, the community developed its economic and, in particular, industrial potential.[163]

In July 2006, the Government categorized all Arab communities in the country as 'class A' development areas, thus making them eligible for tax benefits. This decision aims to encourage investments in the Arab sector.[164]

Raanan Dinur, director-general of Prime Minister office, said in December 2006 that Israel had finalized plans to set up a NIS 160 million private equity fund to help develop the businesses of the country's Arab community over the next decade. According to Dinur, companies owned by Arab citizens of Israel will be eligible to apply to the fund for as much as NIS 4 million (USD 952,000), enabling as many as 80 enterprises to receive money over the next 10 years. The Israeli government will, according to Dinur, solicit bids to operate the fund from various financial institutes and private firms, which must pledge to raise at least NIS 80 million (about USD 19 million) from private investors.[165]

In February 2007, The New York Times reported that 53 percent of the impoverished families in Israel were Arabs.[166] Since the majority of Arabs in Israel do not serve in the army, they are ineligible for many financial benefits such as scholarships and housing loans.[167]

Arab towns in Israel are reluctant to collect city taxes from their residents.[168] Sikkuy, a prominent Arab-Jewish NGO, found that Arabs as a group have the highest home ownership in Israel: 92.6% compared to 70% among Jews.[169]


Of the 40 towns in Israel with the highest unemployment rates, 36 are Arab towns.[61] According to the Central Bank of Israel statistics for 2003, salary averages for Arab workers are 29% lower than for Jewish workers.[61]

Difficulties in procuring employment have been attributed to a comparatively low level of education vis-a-vis their Jewish counterparts, insufficient employment opportunities in the vicinity of their towns, discrimination by Jewish employers, and competition with foreign workers in fields, such as construction and agriculture.[61] Arab women have a higher unemployment rate in the work force relative to both religious and secular Jewish women. While among Arab men the employment is on par with Jewish men, 17% of Arab women are employed. This puts the Arab employment at 68% of the Israeli average. Druze and Christian Arabs have higher employment than Muslims.[170]


The most common health-related causes of death are heart disease and cancer. Roughly 14% were diagnosed with diabetes in 2000.[171] Around half of all Arab men smoke.[171] Life expectancy has increased 27 years since 1948. Further, due largely to improvements in health care, the Arab infant mortality rate dropped from 32 deaths per thousand births in 1970 to 8.6 per thousand in 2000.[171] However, the Bedouin infant mortality rate is still the highest in Israel, and one of the highest in the developed world. In 2003, the infant mortality rate among Arab citizens overall was 8.4 per thousand, more than twice as high as the rate 3.6 per thousand among the Jewish population.[172] As yet the Israeli government has not seen fit to address this disparity through equitable budget allocations: in the 2002 budget, Israel's health ministry allocated Arab communities less than 0.6% of its 277 m-shekel (£35m) budget (1.6 m shekels {£200,000}) to develop healthcare facilities.[173]


The Israeli government regulates and finances most of the schools operating in the country, including the majority of those run by private organizations. The national school system has two major branches - a Hebrew-speaking branch and an Arabic-speaking branch. The curricula for the two systems are almost identical in mathematics, sciences, and English. It is different in humanities (history, literature, etc.). While Hebrew is taught as a second language in Arab schools since the third grade and obligatory for Arabic-speaking school's matriculation exams, only basic knowledge of Arabic is taught in Hebrew-speaking schools, usually from the 7th to the 9th grade. Arabic is not obligatory for Hebrew speaking school's matriculation exams. The schooling language split operates from preschool, up to the end of high school. At the university level, they merge into a single system, which operates mostly in Hebrew and in English.[174]

The Follow-Up Committee for Arab Education notes that the Israeli government spends an average of $192 per year on each Arab student compared to $1,100 per Jewish student. The drop-out rate for Arab citizens of Israel is twice as high as that of their Jewish counterparts (12 percent versus 6 percent). The same group also notes that there is a 5,000-classroom shortage in the Arab sector.[175]

In 2001, Human Rights Watch issued a report that stated: "Government-run Arab schools are a world apart from government-run Jewish schools. In virtually every respect, Palestinian Arab children get an education inferior to that of Jewish children, and their relatively poor performance in school reflects this."[176] The report found striking differences in virtually every aspect of the education system.[177][178]

According to the 2004 U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for Israel and the occupied territories, "Israeli Arabs were underrepresented in the student bodies and faculties of most universities and in higher professional and business ranks. The Bureau of Statistics noted that the median number of school years for the Jewish population is 3 years more than for the Arab population. Well educated Arabs often were unable to find jobs commensurate with their level of education. According to Sikkuy, Arab citizens held approximately 60 to 70 of the country's 5,000 university faculty positions."[179]

Arab educators have long voiced concerns over institutionalized budgetary discrimination in the government's education sector. An August 2009 study published in Megamot by Sorel Cahan of Hebrew University's School of Education demonstrates that Israel's Education Ministry exercises severe discrimination against Arabs in its allocations of special assistance for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. It also shows that the average per-student allocation at Arab junior high schools is one-fifth the average at Jewish ones. This is the result of the allocation method used - assistance funds are first divided between Arab and Jewish school systems, according to the number of students in each, and then allocated to needy students; however, due to the largest proportion of such students in the Arab system, they receive less funds, per student, than Jewish students. The Ministry of Education said that this allotment method is being discontinued in favor of a uniform index method, without first dividing the funds between the school systems.[180]

Ministry data on what percentage of high school students pass their matriculation exams, broken down by town, showed that most Arab towns were once again the lowest ranked - an exception was Arab Fureidis which had the third highest pass rate (75.86 percent) in Israel.[180]

Military conscription

Arab citizens are not required to serve in the Israeli military, and outside the Bedouin community, very few (around 120 a year) volunteer.[47] Until 2000, each year between 5%-10% of the Bedouin population of draft age volunteered for the Israeli army, and Bedouin were well-known for their unique status as volunteers. The legendary Israeli soldier, Amos Yarkoni, first commander of the Shaked Reconnaissance Battalion in the Givati Brigade, was a Bedouin (born Abd el-Majid Hidr). Today the number of Bedouin in the army may be less than 1%.[181] A 2003 report stated that willingness among Bedouin to serve in the army had drastically dropped in recent years, as the Israeli government has failed to fulfill promises of equal service provision to Bedouin citizens.[182] However, a 2009 article in Haaretz stated that volunteer recruitment for a crack elite Bedouin army unit rose threefold.[183]

IDF figures indicate that in 2002 and 2003, Christians represented 0.1 percent of all recruits. In 2004, the number of recruits had doubled. Altogether, in 2003, the percentage of Christians serving had grown by 16 percent over the year 2000. The IDF does not publish figures on the exact number of recruits by religious denomination, and it is estimated that merely a few dozen Christians currently serve in the IDF.[54]

Druze are required to serve in the IDF in accordance with an agreement between their local religious leaders and the Israeli government in 1956. Opposition to the decision among the Druze populace was evident immediately, but was unsuccessful in reversing the decision.[184] It is estimated that 85% of Druze men in Israel serve in the army.[185] In recent years, a growing minority from within the Druze community have denounced this mandatory enrollment, and refused to serve.[186][187] In 2001, Said Nafa, who identifies as a Palestinian Druze and serves as the head of the Balad party's national council, founded the "Pact of Free Druze", an organization that aims "to stop the conscription of the Druze and claims the community is an inalienable part of the Arabs in Israel and the Palestinian nation at large."[188]


See also: Anti-Arabism in Israel

While formally equal according to Israeli law, a number of official sources acknowledge that Arab citizens of Israel experience discrimination in many aspects of life. Israeli High Court Justice (Ret.) Theodor Or wrote in The Report by the State Commission of Inquiry into the Events of October 2000:

The Arab citizens of Israel live in a reality in which they experience discrimination as Arabs. This inequality has been documented in a large number of professional surveys and studies, has been confirmed in court judgments and government resolutions, and has also found expression in reports by the state comptroller and in other official documents. Although the Jewish majority’s awareness of this discrimination is often quite low, it plays a central role in the sensibilities and attitudes of Arab citizens. This discrimination is widely accepted, both within the Arab sector and outside it, and by official assessments, as a chief cause of agitation.[189]

The Or Commission report also claims that activities by Islamic organizations may be using religious pretenses to further political aims. The commission describes such actions as a factor in 'inflaming' the Muslim population in Israel against the authorities, and cites the al-Sarafand mosque episode, with Muslims' attempts to restore the mosque and Jewish attempts to stop them, as an example of the 'shifting of dynamics' of the relationship between Muslims and the Israeli authorities.

According to the 2004 U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for Israel and the Occupied Territories, the Israeli government had done "little to reduce institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against the country's Arab citizens."[179]

The 2004 U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices[179] notes that:

  • "Approximately 93 percent of land in the country was public domain, including that owned by the state and some 12.5 percent owned by the Jewish National Fund (JNF). All public land by law may only be leased, not sold. The JNF's statutes prohibit the sale or lease of land to non-Jews. In October, civil rights groups petitioned the High Court of Justice claiming that a bid announcement by the Israel Land Administration (ILA) involving JNF land was discriminatory in that it banned Arabs from bidding."
  • "Israeli-Arab advocacy organizations have challenged the Government's policy of demolishing illegal buildings in the Arab sector, and claimed that the Government was more restrictive in issuing building permits in Arab communities than in Jewish communities, thereby not accommodating natural growth."
  • "In June, the Supreme Court ruled that omitting Arab towns from specific government social and economic plans is discriminatory. This judgment builds on previous assessments of disadvantages suffered by Arab Israelis."
  • "Israeli-Arab organizations have challenged as discriminatory the 1996 "Master Plan for the Northern Areas of Israel," which listed as priority goals increasing the Galilee's Jewish population and blocking the territorial contiguity of Arab towns."
  • "Israeli Arabs were not required to perform mandatory military service and, in practice, only a small percentage of Israeli Arabs served in the military. Those who did not serve in the army had less access than other citizens to social and economic benefits for which military service was a prerequisite or an advantage, such as housing, new-household subsidies, and employment, especially government or security-related industrial employment. The Ivri Committee on National Service has issued official recommendations to the Government that Israel Arabs not be compelled to perform national or "civic" service, but be afforded an opportunity to perform such service".
  • "According to a 2003 Haifa University study, a tendency existed to impose heavier prison terms to Arab citizens than to Jewish citizens. Human rights advocates claimed that Arab citizens were more likely to be convicted of murder and to have been denied bail."
  • "The Orr Commission of Inquiry's report [...] stated that the 'Government handling of the Arab sector has been primarily neglectful and discriminatory,' that the Government 'did not show sufficient sensitivity to the needs of the Arab population, and did not take enough action to allocate state resources in an equal manner.' As a result, 'serious distress prevailed in the Arab sector in various areas. Evidence of distress included poverty, unemployment, a shortage of land, serious problems in the education system, and substantially defective infrastructure.'"

The 2007 U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices[190] notes that:

  • "According to a 2005 study at Hebrew University, three times more money was invested in education of Jewish children as in Arab children."

Human Rights Watch has charged that cuts in veteran benefits and child allowances based on parents' military service discriminate against Arab children: "The cuts will also affect the children of Jewish ultra-orthodox parents who do not serve in the military, but they are eligible for extra subsidies, including educational supplements, not available to Palestinian Arab children."[191]

According to The Guardian, in 2006 just 5% of civil servants were Arabs, many of them hired to deal with other Arabs, despite the fact that Arab citizens of Israel comprise 20% of the population.[173]

Although the Bedouin infant mortality rate is still the highest in Israel, and one of the highest in the developed world, The Guardian reports that in the 2002 budget, Israel's health ministry allocated Arab communities less than 0.6% of its budget for healthcare facility development.[173]

Property ownership and housing

The Israel Land Administration, which administers 93% of the land in Israel (including the land owned by the Jewish National Fund), refuses to lease land to non-Jewish foreign nationals, which includes Palestinian residents of Jerusalem who have identity cards but are not citizens of Israel. When ILA land is "bought" in Israel it is actually leased to the "owner" for a period of 49 years. According to Article 19 of the ILA lease, foreign nationals are excluded from leasing ILA land, and in practice foreigners may just show that they qualify as Jewish under the Law of Return.[192]

Israeli law also discriminates between Jews and Arabs regarding rights to recover property owned before the dislocations created by the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.[12] The 1950 Absentees Property Law stipulated that any property within post-war Israel which was owned by an Arab who had left the country between November 29, 1947 and May 19, 1948, or by a Palestinian who had merely been abroad or in area of Palestine held by hostile forces up to September 1, 1948, lost all rights to that property. Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes by Jewish or Israeli forces, before and during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, but remained within the borders of what would become Israel, that is, those currently known as Arab citizens of Israel, are deemed present absentees by the legislation. Present absentees are regarded as absent by the Israeli government because they left their homes, even if they did not intend to leave them for more than a few days, and even if they did so involuntarily.[193]

Following the 1967 Six Day War in which Israel occupied the West Bank, from where it annexed East Jerusalem, Israel then passed in 1970 the Law and Administration Arrangements Law allowing for Jews who had lost property in East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1948 war to reclaim it.[13] Palestinian residents of Jerusalem (absentees) in the same positions, and Arab Israelis (present absentees), who owned property in West Jerusalem or other areas within the state of Israel, and lost it as a result of the 1948 war, cannot recover their properties. Israeli legislation, therefore, allows Jews to recover their land, but not Arabs.[14]

Contesting discrimination

Although the Israeli government acknowledges that "Israel has a high level of informal segregation patterns," it argues that this is primarily because of the self-segregating nature of Israel's ethnic groups. The Israeli Foreign Ministry maintains that in spite of certain social cleavages, the political systems and the courts "represent strict legal and civic equality."[194] Mitchell Bard addressed charges of inequality in his 2001 book Myths and Facts: a Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict. He wrote that "Arabs in Israel have equal voting rights; in fact, it is one of the few places in the Middle East where women may vote." [Actually, women were allowed to vote in the countries bordering Israel by 1956, with the exception of Jordan which followed in 1974. As of 2010, only Saudi Arabia does not have women's suffrage, and also when Bard wrote his book, women took part in elections throughout the Middle East except for the Arabian Peninsula.] Baird also noted: "Israeli Arabs have also held various government posts [...]."[195]

According to Bard, "The sole legal distinction between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel is that the latter are not required to serve in the Israeli army. This is to spare Arab citizens the need to take up arms against their brethren. Nevertheless, Bedouins have served in paratroop units and other Arabs have volunteered for military duty. Compulsory military service is applied to the Druze and Circassian communities at their own request." Similarly, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), a pro-Israel[196] media monitoring and research organization, argues that since they are not required to serve in military, yet still have all the rights accorded Jews in Israel, Arabs in Israel are at an advantage. As evidence they cite various cases in which Israeli courts have found in favor of Arab citizens.[197]

Opposition to intermarriage

Intermarriage is prohibited by Jewish law.[198] In the case of mixed Arab-Jewish marriages, emotions run especially high. A 2007 opinion survey found that more than half of Israeli Jews believed intermarriage was equivalent to “national treason”. A group of Jewish men in Pisgat Zeev have started patrolling the town to stop Jewish women from dating Arab men. The municipality of Petah Tikva has also announced an initiative to prevent interracial relationships, providing a telephone hotline for friends and family to report Jewish girls who date Arab men as well as psychologists to provide counselling. The town of Kiryat Gat launched a school programme in schools to warn Jewish girls against dating local Bedouin men.[199][200]

In February 2010 Maariv reported that the Tel Aviv municipality has instituted an official, government-sponsored counselling program to discourage Jewish-Arab dating. The anti-missionary group Yad L'Achim has also performed ”rescue operations” to encourage Jewish women to leave their non-Jewish husbands.[201]

Redrawing of borders

As part of a tentative two state solution, some Israelis have advocated the that Arab-Israelis become citizens of a future Palestinian state. The Israeli political party Yisrael Beiteinu, whose platform includes the redrawing of Israel's borders so that about 500,000 Israeli Arabs would be outside them, won 15 seats in the 2009 Israeli elections; increasing its seats by 4 compared to 2006 Israeli elections. This policy, also known as the Lieberman Plan, has been described as "anti-Arab" by The Guardian.[202]

Intercommunal relations

Public attitudes

There are significant tensions between Arab citizens and their Jewish counterparts. As with all such surveys, polls differ considerably in their findings regarding intercommunal relations.

On April 29, 2007 Haaretz reported that an Israeli Democracy Institute (IDI) poll of 507 people showed that 75% of "Israeli Arabs would support a constitution that maintained Israel's status as a Jewish and democratic state while guaranteeing equal rights for minorities, while 23% said they would oppose such a definition."[203] In December 2007, survey data showed that a majority (62%) of Arab citizens of Israel would prefer to remain Israeli citizens rather than become citizens of a future Palestinian state and a 2008 poll found that 77% would rather remain in their native land, as Israeli citizens, than in any other country in the world.[204][205]

Surveys in 2009 found that various factors — including the 2006 Lebanon War, stalemate in negotiations with Palestinians, failure to implement recommendations of the Or Commission, and closure of the case against Israeli Border Police troops who shot dead Israeli Arab protesters in October 2000 — have caused a radicalization in the positions of Israeli Arabs towards the State of Israel, with only 41% of Israeli Arabs willing to recognize the country's right to exist as a "Jewish and democratic" state (compared to 65.6% in 2003), and only 53.7% believing Israel has a right to exist just as an independent country (compared to 81.1% in 2003).[206]

A 2008 poll on intercommunal relations by a Harvard Kennedy School associate found that "Arab citizens and Jewish citizens both underestimate their communities’ liking of the 'other.'"[207] In contrast, a 2006 poll commissioned by the Arab advocacy group, The Center Against Racism, showed unexpectedly negative attitudes towards Arabs, based on questions asked to 500 Jewish residents of Israel representing all levels of Jewish society. The poll found that: 63% of Jews believe Arabs are a security threat; 68% of Jews would refuse to live in the same building as an Arab; 34% of Jews believe that Arab culture is inferior to Israeli culture. Additionally, support for segregation between Jewish and Arab citizens was found to be higher among Jews of Middle Eastern origin than those of European origin.[208] A more recent poll by the Center Against Racism (2008) found a worsening of Jewish citizens' perceptions of their Arab counterparts:

  • 75% would not agree to live in a building with Arab residents.
  • More than 60% wouldn't accept any Arab visitors at their homes.
  • About 40% believed that Arabs should be stripped of the right to vote.
  • More than 50% agree that the State should encourage emigration of Arab citizens to other countries
  • More than 59% think that the culture of Arabs is a primitive culture.
  • When asked "What do you feel when you hear people speaking Arabic?" 31% said they feel hate and 50% said they feel fear, with only 19% stating positive or neutral feelings.[209]

A 2007 poll conducted by Sami Smooha, a sociologist at Haifa University, found that:

  • 63.3% of Jewish citizens of Israel said they avoid entering Arab towns and cities
  • 68.4% of Jewish citizens of Israel fear the possibility of widespread civil unrest among Arab citizens of Israel
  • 49.7% of Arab citizens of Israel said Hezbollah's capture of IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev in a cross-border raid was justified
  • 18.7% of Arab citizens of Israel thought Israel was justified in going to war following the kidnapping
  • 48.2% of Arab citizens of Israel said they believed that Hezbollah's rocket attacks on northern Israel during that war were justified
  • 89.1% of Arab citizens of Israel said they viewed the IDF's bombing of Lebanon as a war crime
  • 44% of Arab citizens of Israel said they viewed Hezbollah's bombing of Israel as a war crime
  • 62% of Arab citizens of Israel worry that Israel could transfer their communities to the jurisdiction of a future Palestinian state
  • 60% of Arab citizens of Israel said they are concerned about a possible mass expulsion
  • 76% of Arab citizens of Israel described Zionism as racist
  • 67.5% of Arab citizens of Israel said they would be content to live in the Jewish state, if it existed alongside a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
  • 40.5% of Arab citizens of Israel deny the Holocaust; among high school and college graduates the figure was 33%[206]

A 2010 poll of 536 Israeli high school students commissioned by Maagar Mochot found that 49.5% do not believe that Israeli-Arabs are entitled to the same rights as Jews in Israel, and 56% of the students would deny Arabs the right to be elected to the Knesset. [210]

A range of politicians,[211][212] rabbis,[213] journalists,[214] and historians[215] commonly refer to the 20-25% minority of Arabs in Israel as being a "fifth column" inside the state of Israel.[216][217][218]

Involvement in attacks on Israeli citizens

Arab citizens of Israel have been convicted of espionage for Hezbollah.[219] On March 1, 2007, two Israeli Arabs were convicted of manslaughter for smuggling a suicide bomber into Israel, enabling him to carry out a suicide attack in Netanya in July 2005 in which five Israeli citizens were killed and 30 wounded.[220] On September 9, 2001, passengers disembarking from a train in Nahariya were attacked by an Israeli Arab, who killed 3 and wounded 90.[221][222]

Israeli violence against Arab citizens

In the 1956 Kafr Qasim massacre, 48 unarmed Arab citizens, returning to their village, were gunned down by an Israel Border Police platoon; a curfew had been imposed, but the villagers were not informed of it. Arab citizens have also been killed by Israeli security forces in the wake of violent demonstrations and riots, such as the March 1976 Land Day demonstrations, which left 6 dead, and the October 2000 events in which 12 Israeli Arabs and one Palestinian from Gaza were killed. In The Shfar'am attack, four Arab citizens were shot dead on a bus by an AWOL IDF soldier. In December 2007, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel reported a "dramatic increase" in racism against Arab citizens, including a 26 percent rise in anti-Arab incidents. According to ACRI president Sami Michael, "Israeli society is reaching new heights of racism that damages freedom of expression and privacy".[223]

Arab victims of terrorism

Arab citizens have also been victims of Palestinian, Arab, or Islamist attacks on Israel and Israelis. For example, on September 12, 1956, three Druze guards were killed in an attack on Ein Ofarim, in the Arabah region.[224] Two Arab citizens were killed in the Ma'alot massacre carried out by the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine on May 15, 1974. In March 2002, a resident of the Arab town of Tur'an was killed in an attack on a Haifa restaurant[225] Two months later, a woman from Jaffa was killed in a Hamas suicide bombing in Rishon LeZion[225] On June 18, 2002: A woman from the Arab border town of Barta'a was one of 19 killed by Hamas in the Pat Junction Bus Bombing in Jerusalem[225] In August 2002, a man from the Arab town of Mghar and woman from the Druze village of Sajur were killed in a suicide bombing at Meron junction[225] On October 21, 2002, an Isfiya man and a Tayibe woman were among 14 killed by Islamic Jihad in the Egged bus 841 massacre.[225] On March 5, 2003, a 13 year old girl from the Druze town of Daliyat al-Karmel was one of 17 killed in the Haifa bus 37 suicide bombing.[225] In May 2003: A Jisr az-Zarqa man, was killed in an Afula mall suicide bombing.[225] On March 19, 2004, Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades gunmen killed George Khoury, a Hebrew University student.[226] On December 12, 2004, five Arab IDF soldiers were killed in an explosion and shooting at the border with Egypt for which the Fatah Hawks claimed responsibility.[227] On October 4, 2003, four Arab citizens of Israel were among the 21 killed by Hanadi Jaradat in the Maxim restaurant suicide bombing. In July 2006, 19 Arab citizens were killed due to Hezbollah rocket fire in the course of the 2006 Lebanon War.

On August 22, 2006, 11 Arab tourists from Israel were killed when their bus overturned in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Israel sent Magen David Adom, but the ambulances waited for hours at the border before receiving Egyptian permission to enter and treat the wounded, responsible for at least one of the deaths. The victims say that the driver acted as part of a planned terrorist attack, and are attempting to receive compensation from the government.[228][229]


A wedding groom and his horse, Jisr az-Zarka, 2009

Many Arab citizens of Israel share in the culture of the Palestinian people and wider Arab region of which many of them form a part. There are still some women who produce Palestinian cultural products such as Palestinian embroidery,[230][231] and costume. The Palestinian folk dance, known as the dabke, continues to be taught to youth in cultural groups, and is often danced at weddings and other parties.

Linguistically-speaking, the majority of Arabic citizens of Israel are fluently bilingual, speaking both a Palestinian Arabic dialect and Hebrew, and some are trilingual. In Arab homes and towns, the primary language spoken is Arabic. Some Hebrew words have entered the colloquial Arabic dialect. For example, Arabs often use the word beseder (equivalent of "Okay") while speaking Arabic. Other Hebrew words that are regularly interspersed are ramzor (stoplight), mazgan (air conditioner), and mahshev (computer). Arab citizens of Israel tend to watch both the Arab satellite news stations and Israeli cable stations and read both Arabic and Hebrew newspapers, comparing the information against one another.[232]

There are different local colloquial dialects among Arabs in different regions and localities. For example, the Little Triangle residents of Umm al-Fahm are known for pronouncing the kaph sound, with a "ch"-as-in-cheese sound rather than "k"-as-in-kite sound. Some Arabic words or phrases are used only in their respective localities, such as the Nazareth word for "now" which is issa, and silema a local modification of the English word "cinema".[233][234]

The Palestinian art scene in general has been enriched by the contributions of Arab citizens of Israel.[235] In addition to the contribution of artists such as singer Amal Murkus (from Kafr Yasif) to evolving traditional Palestinian and Arabic music styles, a new generation of Arab youth in Israel has also begun asserting a Palestinian identity in new musical forms. For instance of the Palestinian hip hop group DAM, from Lod, has spurred the emergence of other hip hop groups from Akka, to Bethlehem, to Ramallah, to Gaza City.

Arab citizens of Israel have made significant contributions to both Hebrew and Arabic cinema and theater. Mohammad Bakri, Salim Dau, and Juliano Mer-Khamis have starred in Israeli film and television. Directors such as Mohammad Bakri, Elia Suleiman, Hany Abu-Assad, and Michel Khleifi have put Arab citizens of Israel on the cinematic map.[236] Amsterdam,[237] and Brussels,[238] respectively. Acclaimed Israeli Arab authors include Emil Habibi, Anton Shammas, and Sayed Kashua.

See also

Further reading

  • Orgad, Liav(PhD), IDC, Hertzlia, "Internationalizing the issue of Israeli Arabs" , Maariv, March 19, 2006 page 7.
  • "Israel's Arab Citizens: The Continuing Struggle" by Mark Tessler; Audra K. Grant. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 555, Israel in Transition. (Jan., 1998), pp. 97–113. JSTR:[239]
  • The Israeli Palestinians: an Arab minority in the Jewish state / Alexander Bligh 2003. (book)[240]
  • Tall shadows: interviews with Israeli Arabs / Smadar Bakovic 2006 English Book 313 p. Lanham, MD: Hamilton Books, ; ISBN 0761832890
  • Israel's Arab Citizens / Laurence Louër; John King 2006 London: C. Hurst & Co. Ltd. ISBN 185065798X
  • Arab citizens in Israel: the ongoing conflict with the state / Massoud Ahmad Eghbarieh. Thesis (Ph.D.) --University of Maryland at College Park, 1991.
  • Identity crisis: Israel and its Arab citizens. International Crisis Group. 2004[241]



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      A coalition of local groups will hold a rally at the Liberty Bell on Sunday, Jan. 20, in support of American and Israeli military policies in the Persian Gulf crisis. "We'll be coming out on Sunday to say 'God bless America and Israel," said Bertram Korn Jr., executive director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, one of the sponsors of the rally. "The criminal Iraqi war machine must be permanently disarmed," he added.

    • Zara Myers. The Name of the Game? Advocacy for Israel. Jewish Exponent. Philadelphia: Nov 25, 2004.

      To encourage effective advocacy on behalf of Israel, the Center for Israel and Overseas of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia will host a daylong program -- its inaugural advocacy event -- on Sunday, Dec. 5, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Hillel at the University of Pennsylvania, Steinhardt Hall, 215 S. 39th St. in Philadelphia. In the morning will be a panel featuring representatives from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, all of which will discuss "Methodologies on How to Advocate for Israel...Dr. John Cohn, a local physician named Camera's "No. 1 Letter-Writer" in 2004, will serve as moderator of the panel.

    • CAMERA Articles For Students. Apply NOW to Be A CAMERA Student Representative—EARN A FREE TRIP TO ISRAEL AND $1000! Posted on CAMERA website, September 25, 2007.

      CAMERA is looking for fifteen passionately committed undergraduate students with excellent communication skills who can organize pro-Israel events on campus. Students earn $1000 and a free exclusive trip to Israel in June by becoming a CAMERA Fellows Representative.

    • Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. CAMERA: Fighting Distorted Media Coverage of Israel and the Middle East: An Interview with Andrea Levin. Posted on JCPA website, June 1, 2005.

      Their work undoubtedly has impact, but the non-Israel-related groups do not have the same activist focus. They produce studies and polls. It is for this reason that I think pro-Israeli media watching has an importance beyond the cause of Israel. Efforts that induce better adherence to ethical journalism in one subject area are positive generally in helping to strengthen American democracy, especially, again, as there are no enforceable codes of professional conduct in the media. – CAMERA Executive Director Andrea Levin.

    • The New York Times. MIDEAST TURMOIL: THE NEWS OUTLETS; Some U.S. Backers of Israel Boycott Dailies Over Mideast Coverage That They Deplore. Posted on NYTimes website, May 23, 2002.

      While the the pro-Israeli Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, or Camera, studies newpapers for evidence of bias, Palestine Media Watch has been monitoring the coverage of newspapers like The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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  214. ^ "[George Galloway] looks like a moderate next to Israeli fifth columnists like Bishara." (David Bedein, "Israel's Unrepentant Fifth Columnist", Israel Insider April 13, 2007)
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