Arab citizens of Israel

Arab citizens of Israel

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Arab citizens of Israel refers to citizens of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 who are not Jewish, and whose cultural and linguistic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 heritage or ethnic identity is Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

.

The traditional vernacular
Vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

 of Arab citizens, irrespective of religion, is the Arabic language
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

, or more precisely, the Palestinian dialect of Arabic
Palestinian Arabic
Palestinian Arabic is a Levantine Arabic dialect subgroup spoken by Palestinians and the majority of Arab-Israelis. Rural varieties of this dialect exhibit several distinctive features; particularly the pronunciation of qaf as kaf, which distinguish them from other Arabic varieties...

. Most Arab citizens of Israel are functionally bilingual
Multilingualism
Multilingualism is the act of using, or promoting the use of, multiple languages, either by an individual speaker or by a community of speakers. Multilingual speakers outnumber monolingual speakers in the world's population. Multilingualism is becoming a social phenomenon governed by the needs of...

, their second language being Modern Hebrew. By religious affiliation
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, most are Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

, particularly of the Sunni
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 branch of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. There is a significant Arab Christian minority from various denominations
Christian denomination
A Christian denomination is an identifiable religious body under a common name, structure, and doctrine within Christianity. In the Orthodox tradition, Churches are divided often along ethnic and linguistic lines, into separate churches and traditions. Technically, divisions between one group and...

 as well as Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

, among other religious communities. Jews of Arab extraction
Arab Jews
Arab Jews is a term referring to Jews living in the Arab World, or Jews descended from such persons.The term was occasionally used in the early 20th century, mainly by Arab nationalists, to describe the 1 million Jews living in the Arab world at the time...

 are not considered to form part of this population.

According to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, the Arab population of Israel in 2010 is estimated at 1,573,000, representing 20.4% of the population. The majority of these identify themselves as Arab or Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 by nationality
Nationality
Nationality is membership of a nation or sovereign state, usually determined by their citizenship, but sometimes by ethnicity or place of residence, or based on their sense of national identity....

 and Israeli by citizenship
Citizenship
Citizenship is the state of being a citizen of a particular social, political, national, or human resource community. Citizenship status, under social contract theory, carries with it both rights and responsibilities...

. Many have family ties to Palestinians in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 and Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

, as well as to Palestinian refugee
Palestinian refugee
Palestinian refugees or Palestine refugees are the people and their descendants, predominantly Palestinian Arabic-speakers, who fled or were expelled from their homes during and after the 1948 Palestine War, within that part of the British Mandate of Palestine, that after that war became the...

s in Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, and Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

. Negev Bedouins tend to identify more as Israelis than other Arab citizens of Israel.

Most of the Arabs living in East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

 and the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

 of 1967, were offered Israeli citizenship, but refused, not wanting to recognize Israeli sovereignty. They became permanent residents. They are entitled to municipal services and have municipal voting rights.

Terminology


How to refer to the Arab citizenry of Israel is a highly politicized issue and there are a number of self-identification labels used by members of this community. According to the author's survey, approximately 66 percent of the sample of Palestinian Israelis identified themselves in whole or in part as Palestinian. The modal identity is "Palestinian in Israel", which rejects "Israeli" as a psychological identification, but accepts it as a descriptive label of geographical location. [...]
The establishment-favoured "Israeli Arab" is the second-most popular response in the survey, reflecting its dominance in Israeli social discourse. About 37 percent of respondents identified themselves in some way as "Israeli", double-counting the "Israeli Palestinian" category as both "Israeli" and "Palestinian". Although much smaller than the percentage identifying themselves as Palestinian a nevertheless considerable number include "Israeli" as part of their identity, despite the hardships placed upon them by the Israeli state. }}

The Israeli establishment prefers Israeli Arabs or Arabs in Israel, and also uses the terms the minorities, the Arab sector, Arabs of Israel and Arab citizens of Israel. These labels have been criticized for denying this population a political or national identification, obscuring their Palestinian identity and connection to Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

. The term Israeli Arabs in particular is viewed as a construct of the Israeli authorities, but is nonetheless used by a significant minority of the Arab population, "reflecting its dominance in Israeli social discourse."

While a minority of Israel's Arab citizens do include "Israeli" in some way in their self-identifying label, the majority identify as Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 by nationality
Nationality
Nationality is membership of a nation or sovereign state, usually determined by their citizenship, but sometimes by ethnicity or place of residence, or based on their sense of national identity....

 and Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i by citizenship
Citizenship
Citizenship is the state of being a citizen of a particular social, political, national, or human resource community. Citizenship status, under social contract theory, carries with it both rights and responsibilities...

. Terms preferred by most Arab citizens to identify themselves include Palestinians, Palestinians in Israel, Israeli Palestinians, the Palestinians of 1948, Palestinian Arabs, Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel or Palestinian citizens of Israel. There are, however, individuals from among the Arab citizenry who reject the term Palestinian altogether.

Other terms used to refer to this population include Arab Israelis, Palestinian Arabs in Israel, Israeli Palestinian Arabs, and the Arabs inside the Green Line (or the Arabs within ). The latter appellation, among others listed above, are not applied to the East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

 Arab population or the Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

 in the Golan Heights, as these territories were occupied by Israel in 1967. As the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , abbreviated CBS, is an Israeli government office established in 1949 to carry out research and publish statistical data on all aspects of Israeli life, including population, society, economy, industry, education and physical infrastructure.It is headed by a...

 defines the area covered in its statistics survey as including East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, the number of Arabs in Israel is calculated as just over 20% of the Israeli population (2010).

1948 Arab-Israeli War


Most Israelis refer to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

 as the War of Independence, while most Arab citizens refer to it as the Nakba
1948 Palestinian exodus
The 1948 Palestinian exodus , also known as the Nakba , occurred when approximately 711,000 to 725,000 Palestinian Arabs left, fled or were expelled from their homes, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the Civil War that preceded it. The exact number of refugees is a matter of dispute...

 (catastrophe), a reflection of differences in perception of the purpose and outcomes of the war.

In the aftermath of the 1948 war, British Mandate of Palestine was de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

 divided into three parts: the State of Israel, the Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

ian-held West Bank, and the Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian-held Gaza Strip. (Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 had been separated from the mandatory area several years earlier.) Of the estimated 950,000 Arabs that lived in the territory that became Israel before the war, over 80% left. While it is disputed how many fled or were expelled; some 156,000 remained. Benny Morris
Benny Morris
Benny Morris is professor of History in the Middle East Studies department of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in the city of Be'er Sheva, Israel...

 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
1948 Palestinian exodus from Lydda and Ramla
The 1948 Palestinian exodus from Lydda and Ramle was the flight or expulsion of 50,000–70,000 Palestinian Arabs when Israeli troops captured the towns in July that year. The military action occurred within the context of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

, from which Arab communities were expelled by Jewish troops.
Arab citizens of Israel are largely composed of these people and their descendants. Others include some from the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 and the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 who procured Israeli citizenship under family-unification provisions that were recently made significantly more stringent.

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
Eminent domain
Eminent domain , compulsory purchase , resumption/compulsory acquisition , or expropriation is an action of the state to seize a citizen's private property, expropriate property, or seize a citizen's rights in property with due monetary compensation, but without the owner's consent...

 and turned over to state ownership, as was the property of other Palestinian refugee
Palestinian refugee
Palestinian refugees or Palestine refugees are the people and their descendants, predominantly Palestinian Arabic-speakers, who fled or were expelled from their homes during and after the 1948 Palestine War, within that part of the British Mandate of Palestine, that after that war became the...

s. Some 274,000, or 1 of every 4 Arab citizens of Israel are "present absentees" or internally displaced Palestinians
Internally displaced Palestinians
A present absentee is a Palestinian who fled or was expelled from his home in Palestine by Jewish or Israeli forces, before and during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, but who remained within the area that became the state of Israel. Present absentees are also referred to as internally displaced...

. Notable cases of "present absentees" include the residents of Saffuriyya
Tzippori
Tzippori , also known as Sepphoris, Dioceserea and Saffuriya is located in the central Galilee region, north-northwest of Nazareth, in modern-day Israel...

 and the Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

 villages of Kafr Bir'im
Kafr Bir'im
Kafr Bir'im, also Kefr Berem , was an Arab Christian village in Palestine located south of the Lebanese border and northwest of Safed. The village was situated above sea level, with a church overlooking it at an elevation of . The church was built on the ruins of an older church destroyed in an...

 and Iqrit
Iqrit
Iqrit was a Palestinian Christian village, located 25 kilometers northeast of Acre. Originally allotted to form part of an Arab state under the 1947 UN Partition Plan, it was captured and depopulated by the Israel Defence Force during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war...

.

1949–1966



While most Arabs remaining in Israel were granted citizenship, they were subject to martial law in the early years of the state. Travel permits, curfews, administrative detention
Administrative detention
Administrative detention is arrest and detention of individuals by the state without trial, usually for security reasons. A large number of countries, both democratic and undemocratic, resort to administrative detention as a means to combat terrorism, control illegal immigration, or to protect the...

s, 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.

Arabs that held Israeli citizenship were entitled to vote for the Israeli Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

. Arabic Knesset members have served in office since the First Knesset
Israeli legislative election, 1949
Elections for the Constituent Assembly were held in newly independent Israel on 25 January 1949. Voter turnout was 86.9%. Two days after its first meeting on 14 February 1949, legislators voted to change the name of the body to the Knesset...

. The first Arab Knesset members were Amin-Salim Jarjora
Amin-Salim Jarjora
Amin-Salim Jarjora was an Israeli Arab politician who headed the Democratic List of Nazareth party, for whom he served as a member of the Knesset between 1949 and 1951.-Biography:...

 and Seif el-Din el-Zoubi which were members of the Democratic List of Nazareth
Democratic List of Nazareth
The Democratic List of Nazareth was a political party in Israel and the only Israeli Arab party to win seats in the first Knesset. The party, which was sponsored by David Ben-Gurion's Mapai, was so named as it was based in Nazareth, the largest Arab city in Israel.-History:In the 1949 elections,...

 party and Tawfik Toubi
Tawfik Toubi
-Biography:Toubi was born in Haifa to an Arab Orthodox family in 1922, and was educated at the Mount Zion School in Jerusalem. He joined the Palestine Communist Party in 1941 and later was one of the founders of the League for National Liberation, which originally opposed partition of Palestine but...

 member of the Maki party.

In 1965 a radical independent Arab group called al-Ard forming the Arab Socialist List tried to run for Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 elections. The list was banned by the Israeli Central Elections Committee
Israeli Central Elections Committee
The Israeli Central Elections Committee is the body charged under the Knesset Elections Law of 1969 to carry out the elections for the upcoming Knesset. The committee is composed of Knesset members representating various parliamentary groups and is chaired by a Supreme Court Justice...

.

In 1966, martial law was lifted completely, and the government set about dismantling most of the discriminatory laws, while Arab citizens were granted the same rights as Jewish citizens under law.

1967–2000


After the Six Day War, Arab citizens were able to contact Palestinians in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 and Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 for the first time since the establishment of the state. This along with the lifting of military rule, led to increased political activism among Arab citizens.

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. This was followed in 1975 by the formation of the Committee for the Defense of the Land, which sought to prevent continuing land expropriations. That same year, a political breakthrough took place with the election of Arab poet Tawfiq Ziad
Tawfiq Ziad
Tawfiq Ziad was a Palestinian politician well-known for his "poetry of protest".-Biography:Born in the Galilee, Ziad studied literature in Russia...

, a Maki member, as mayor of Nazareth, accompanied by a strong communist presence in the town council. 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, 30 March, has since been commemorated annually as Land Day
Land Day
Land Day , March 30, is an annual day of commemoration for Palestinians of the events of that date in 1976. In response to the Israeli government's announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of dunams of land for "security and settlement purposes", a general strike and marches were organized...

.

The 1980s saw the birth of the Islamic Movement
Islamic Movement in Israel
The Islamic Movement in Israel is a movement that aims to advocate Islam among Israeli Arabs. It operates on three levels: religious , social and anti-Zionist...

. As part of a larger trend in the Arab World
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

, the Islamic Movement emphasized moving Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 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.

Many Arab citizens supported the First Intifada
First Intifada
The First Intifada was a Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The uprising began in the Jabalia refugee camp and quickly spread throughout Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem....

 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.

The years leading up to the Oslo Accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

 were a time of optimism for Arab citizens. During the administration of Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
' was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995....

, 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. In the 1999 elections for prime minister, 94% of the Arab electorate voted for Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak is an Israeli politician who served as Prime Minister from 1999 until 2001. He was leader of the Labor Party until January 2011 and holds the posts of Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Binyamin Netanyahu's government....

. However, Barak formed a broad left-right-center government without consulting the Arab parties, disappointing the Arab community.

2000–present


Tensions between Arabs and the state rose in October 2000
October 2000 events
The October 2000 events were a series of protests in Arab villages in northern Israel in October 2000 that turned violent, escalating into clashes between Israeli Arabs and the Israel Police and ending in the deaths of demonstrators.The Or Commission was established to investigate the police...

 when 12 Arab citizens 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
Or Commission
The Or Commission was a panel of inquiry appointed by the Israeli government to investigate the events of October 2000 at the beginning of the Second Intifada in which 12 Arab citizens of Israel and one Palestinian were killed by Israeli police amidst several demonstrations...

. The events of October 2000 caused many Arabs to question the nature of their Israeli citizenship. To a large extent, they boycotted the 2001 Israeli Elections as a means of protest. Ironically, this boycott helped Ariel Sharon defeat Ehud Barak. In 1999 elections, more than 90 percent of Israel's Arab minority had voted for Ehud Barak. IDF
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 enlistment by Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

 citizens of Israel dropped significantly.

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. Many Israeli Jews viewed the Arab opposition to government policy and sympathy with the Lebanese as a sign of disloyalty.

In October 2006, tensions rose when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009, as a Cabinet Minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006, and as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003....

 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
Umm al-Fahm
Umm al-Fahm is a city in the Haifa District of Israel with a population of 43,300, nearly all of whom are Arab citizens of Israel. The city is situated on the Umm al-Fahm mountain ridge, the highest point of which is Mt. Iskander , overlooking Wadi Ara...

) to the Palestinian Authority as part of a peace proposal.

In January 2007 the first non-Druze Arab minister in Israel's history, Raleb Majadele
Raleb Majadele
Ghaleb Majadele is an Israeli Arab politician. A member of the Knesset for the Labor Party, he became the country's first Muslim minister when appointed Minister without Portfolio on 28 January 2007.-Biography:...

, was appointed minister without portfolio (Salah Tarif
Salah Tarif
Salah Tarif is a Druze Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset between 1992 and 2006. When appointed Minister without Portfolio by Ariel Sharon in 2001, he became Israel's first non-Jewish government minister.-Biography:...

, a Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

, 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.

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. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , abbreviated CBS, is an Israeli government office established in 1949 to carry out research and publish statistical data on all aspects of Israeli life, including population, society, economy, industry, education and physical infrastructure.It is headed by a...

 (May 2003), Muslims, including Bedouins, make up 82% of the entire Arab population in Israel, along with around 9% Druze, and 9% Christians. Projections based on 2010 data, predicted that Arab Israelis will constitute 25% of Israel's population by 2025.

The national language and mother tongue of Arab citizens, including the Druze, is Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 and the colloquial spoken language is of the Palestinian Arabic
Palestinian Arabic
Palestinian Arabic is a Levantine Arabic dialect subgroup spoken by Palestinians and the majority of Arab-Israelis. Rural varieties of this dialect exhibit several distinctive features; particularly the pronunciation of qaf as kaf, which distinguish them from other Arabic varieties...

 dialect. Knowledge and command of Modern Standard Arabic varies.

Muslims


Outside of the Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

 population, traditionally settled communities of Muslim Arabs comprise about 70% of the Arab population in Israel. In 2010, the average number of children per mother was 3.84, dropping from 3.97 in 2008. Among Christian families the average was 2.11. The Muslim population is mostly young: 42% of Muslims are under the age of 15. 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.

Bedouin



According to the Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel
Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel
The Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel is the political head of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The position is one of the most important in the Israeli cabinet after Prime Minister and Defense Minister...

, 110,000 Bedouins live in the Negev, 50,000 in the Galilee, and 10,000 in the central region of Israel.

The term "Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

" ("Badawi" or "Baddu" in Arabic) defines a range of nomadic desert-dwelling ethnic groups spanning from the western Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

 desert to the Nejd desert including one of its arms, the Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

 ("Naqab" in Arabic). Through the latter half of the 19th century, the traditionally pastoral nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic Bedouin in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 began transitioning to a semi-nomadic pastoral agricultural community, with an emphasis on agricultural production and the privatization of tribal lands. Although the Bedouin in Israel continue to be perceived as nomads, today all of them are fully sedentarized, and about half are urbanites.

Prior to the establishment of Israel in 1948, there were an estimated 65,000–90,000 Bedouin living in the Negev. 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. 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 and never returned to their former range.

The Israeli government encourages Bedouin to reside in seven development towns built for them by the Israeli government between 1979 and 1982. Around half the Bedouin population live in these towns, the largest of which is the city of Rahat
Rahat
Rahat is a predominantly Bedouin city in the South District of Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , at the end of 2009 the city had a total population of 51,700...

, others being Ar'arat an-Naqab (Ar'ara BaNegev), Bir Hadaj
Bir Hadaj
Bir Hadaj is a Bedouin agricultural town located in the Negev desert, near Revivim. It was recognized by Israel in 2004 and along with 8 other villages, became a part of the Abu Basma Regional Council. It is the largest town of Abu Basma with a population of approximately 5,000 and a total land...

, Hura
Hura
-See also:*List of Arab localities in Israel*Negev Bedouins...

, Kuseife
Kuseife
Kuseife is a Bedouin town in the Southern District of Israel.According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , the population of Kuseife was 10,300 in December 2006...

, Lakiya
Lakiya
Lakiya, or Laqye is a Bedouin town in the Southern District of Israel.According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , the population of Lakiya was 7,600 in December 2004...

, Shaqib al-Salam
Shaqib al-Salam
Shaqib al-Salam or Segev Shalom is a Bedouin town and a local council in the South District of Israel, southeast of Beersheba.According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , the population of Shaqib was 6,500 in December 2006...

 (Segev Shalom) and Tel as-Sabi (Tel Sheva).

Approximately 40%–50% of Bedouin citizens of Israel live in 39–45 Unrecognized bedouin villages. The unrecognised villages are ineligible for municipal services such as connection to the electrical grid, water mains or trash-pickup and are not precisely marked on commercial maps.

Druze


The Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

 are members of a religious sect residing in many countries, with significant populations in mountainous regions in Israel, Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, and Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

. Druze who are citizens of Israel live mainly in the north. The Druze of the Golan Heights, captured in 1967 from Syria and annexed to Israel in 1981, are considered permanent residents under the Golan Heights Law
Golan Heights Law
The Golan Heights Law is the Israeli law which applies Israel's government and laws to the Golan Heights. It was ratified by the Knesset on December 14, 1981. The law was condemned internationally and determined null and void by United Nations Security Council Resolution 497.The law was passed...

. The vast majority have refused to accept full Israeli citizenship, choosing to retain their Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

n citizenship and identity.

The Druze of British Mandate of Palestine showed little interest in Arab nationalism
Arab nationalism
Arab nationalism is a nationalist ideology celebrating the glories of Arab civilization, the language and literature of the Arabs, calling for rejuvenation and political union in the Arab world...

 that was on the rise in the 20th century, and did not take part in the early Arab-Jewish skirmishes of the era. By 1939, the leadership of one Druze village had formally allied itself with pre-Israeli militias, like the Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

. 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.

Since the establishment of the state, the Druze have demonstrated solidarity with the Zionist ethos while distancing themselves from Arab and Islamic themes embraced by their Christian and Muslim counterparts. It is in keeping with Druze religious practice to always serve the country in which they live, and unlike other Arabs, the Druze are conscripted
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 into the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

.

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. 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.

Compared to other Arab citizens, Druze emphasize their Arab identity less and their Israeli identity more, and most do not identify as Palestinians
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

. Druze politicians in Israel include Ayoob Kara
Ayoob Kara
Ayoob Kara is a Druze Israeli politician. He is currently a member of the Knesset for Likud and Deputy Minister for Development of the Negev and Galilee. He lives in Isfiya, Haifa District....

, who represented the conservative Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 in the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

, Majalli Wahabi
Majalli Wahabi
Majalli Wahabi is an Israeli Druze politician who currently serves as a member of the Knesset for Kadima. He briefly assumed the position of President due to President Moshe Katzav's leave of absence and Acting President Dalia Itzik's trip abroad in February 2007, making him the first non-Jew to...

 of Kadima
Kadima
Kadima is a centrist and liberal political party in Israel. It was established on 24 November 2005 by moderates from Likud largely to support the issue of Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and was soon joined by like-minded Labor politicians...

, the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and next in line to the acting presidency, and Said Nafa
Said Nafa
Said Nafa is a politician and lawyer. A Druze Palestinian Arab citizen of Israel, he is a member of the Knesset for the Arab party, Balad.-Biography:...

 of the Arab party Balad.

Christians



Christian Arabs comprise about 9% of the Arab population in Israel. Approximately 70% reside in the north, in Jish
Jish
Jish is an Arab town located on the northeastern slopes of Mt. Meron, north of Safed, in Israel's North District. The population is predominantly Maronite Christian and Greek Catholic with a Muslim minority....

, Eilabun
Eilabun
Eilabun is an Israeli-Arab local council in Israel's North District, located in the Beit Netofa Valley. According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, Eilabun had a population of 4,400 inhabitants in 2005. The population is predominantly Christian...

, Kafr Yasif
Kafr Yasif
Kafr Yasif is a Arab town in the North District of Israel. It is located northeast of the city of Acre and adjacent to Abu Sinan. The population of Kafr Yasif is largely Christian with a significant Muslim minority , and a small Druze community....

, Kafr Kanna, I'billin
I'billin
I'billin is an Arab local council in the Northern District of Israel. In December 2006, the population was 11,000.- History :The village existed in ancient times. It is mentioned in the Talmud and the Mishna under the name "Avlayim"...

, Shefa-'Amr
Shefa-'Amr
Shefa-'Amr, also Shfar'am is a predominantly Arab city in the North District of Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , at the end of 2009 the city had a population of 35,300.-Etymology:...

. Some Druze villages such as Hurfeish
Hurfeish
Hurfeish is a Druze local council in the Northern District of Israel. It was declared a local council in 1967. according to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics it had in 2006 a total population of 5,200, with a growth rate of 1.9%....

 and Maghar, have small Christian Arab populations. Nazareth
Nazareth
Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up predominantly of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel...

 has the largest Christian Arab population. There are 117,000 or more Christian Arabs in Israel. Christian Arabs have been prominent in Arab political parties in Israel and these leaders have included Archbishop George Hakim
Maximos V Hakim
Maximos V Hakim was elected Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch in 1967 and served until 2000. He guided the church through tubulent changes in the Middle East and rapid expansion in the Western hemisphere.-Life:...

, Emile Toma
Emile Toma
Emile Toma , was a political historian and philosopher and thinker.Emile was born in Haifa to an Arab Orthodox family in 1919. He studied in the Orthodox School in Haifa then he went to Jerusalem to the Zion College to complete his high school studies.He joined the Cambridge University and left it...

, Tawfik Toubi
Tawfik Toubi
-Biography:Toubi was born in Haifa to an Arab Orthodox family in 1922, and was educated at the Mount Zion School in Jerusalem. He joined the Palestine Communist Party in 1941 and later was one of the founders of the League for National Liberation, which originally opposed partition of Palestine but...

, Emile Habibi
Emile Habibi
Imil Shukri Habibi was an Israeli-Palestinian writer of Arabic expression and a communist politician, son of a Christian family.In 2005, he was voted the 143rd-greatest Israeli of all time, in a poll by the Israeli news website Ynet to determine whom the general public considered the 200 Greatest...

, and Azmi Bishara
Azmi Bishara
Azmi Bishara , a former member of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, is a Palestinian intellectual, academic, politician, and writer.In 2007, Bishara fled Israel and resigned from the Knesset after being questioned by police on suspicion of aiding and passing information to the enemy during...

. Notable Christian religious figures include the Melkite
Melkite Greek Catholic Church
The Melkite Greek Catholic Church is an Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Holy See as part of the worldwide Catholic Church. The Melkites, Byzantine Rite Catholics of mixed Eastern Mediterranean and Greek origin, trace their history to the early Christians of Antioch, Syria, of...

 Archbishops of the Galilee Elias Chacour
Elias Chacour
Elias Chacour is the Archbishop of Akko, Haifa, Nazareth and All Galilee of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. Noted for his efforts to promote reconciliation between Arabs and Israelis, he is the author of two books about the experience of Palestinian people living in present-day Israel...

 and Boutros Mouallem
Boutros Mouallem
Boutros Pierre Mouallem is the retired Melkite Eastern Catholic archbishop of Acre, Haifa and the Galilee, in Israel. He was born in 1928 and consecrated eparch of Brazil on June 29, 1990. He is active in seeking interfaith reconciliation and for championing the rights of Palestinians. He also...

, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem is the title possessed by the Latin Rite Catholic Archbishop of Jerusalem. The Archdiocese of Jerusalem has jurisdiction for all Latin Rite Catholics in Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan and Cyprus...

 Michel Sabbah
Michel Sabbah
Michel Sabbah was the Archbishop and Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem from 1987 to 2008.Sabbah began his priestly studies at the Latin Patriarchal Seminary of Beit Jala in October 1949 and was ordained a priest for the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem in June 1955. He was a parish priest for a few...

, and Bishop Munib Younan
Munib Younan
Munib Younan is the elected president of the Lutheran World Federation since 2010 and the Evangelical Lutheran Church Bishop of Palestine and Jordan in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land since 1998.- Education :...

 of the Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land. Israeli Supreme Court judge Salim Joubran is a Christian Arab.

Self-identification



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
Minority group
A minority is a sociological group within a demographic. The demographic could be based on many factors from ethnicity, gender, wealth, power, etc. The term extends to numerous situations, and civilizations within history, despite the misnomer of minorities associated with a numerical statistic...

 populations and state authorities elsewhere in the world. Arab citizens consider themselves to be an indigenous people
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

. 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".

In a 2006 patriotism survey, 56% of Israeli Arabs were not proud of their citizenship and 73% were not ready to fight to defend the state, but 77% said that Israel was better than most other countries and 53% were proud of the country's welfare system. Eighty-two percent said they would rather be a citizen of Israel than of any other country in the world.

According to a 2008 national resilience survey conducted by Dr. Yussuf Hassan of the Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv University is a public university located in Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel. With nearly 30,000 students, TAU is Israel's largest university.-History:...

, 43% of Israel's Muslims defined themselves as "Palestinian-Arabs", 15% as "Arab-Israelis" and four percent as "Muslim-Israelis". In the Christian Arab community, 24% defined themselves as "Arab-Palestinians", 24% as "Arab-Israelis", and 24% as "Christian-Israelis". Over 94% of Druze youngsters saw themselves as "Druze-Israelis".

Arabs living in East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

, occupied and administered by Israel since the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

 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. 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
Golan Heights Law
The Golan Heights Law is the Israeli law which applies Israel's government and laws to the Golan Heights. It was ratified by the Knesset on December 14, 1981. The law was condemned internationally and determined null and void by United Nations Security Council Resolution 497.The law was passed...

 of 1981. Few have accepted full Israeli citizenship and the vast majority consider themselves citizens of Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

.

Population


Arab citizens of Israel form a majority of the population (52%) in Israel's Northern District
North District (Israel)
The Northern District is one of Israel's six administrative districts. The Northern District has a land area of 4,478 km², which increases to 4,638  km² when both land and water are included...

 and about 50% of the Arab population lives in 114 different localities throughout Israel. In total there are 122 primarily if not entirely Arab localities in Israel, 89 of them having populations over two thousand. The seven townships as well as the Abu Basma Regional Council
Abu Basma Regional Council
Abu Basma Regional Council is a regional council covering several Bedouin villages in the northwestern Negev desert of Israel.The council was formed as a result of Government Resolution 881 of 29 September 2003, known as the "Abu Basma Plan", which stated the need to establish seven new Bedouin...

 that have been constructed by the government for the Bedouin population of the Negev, 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. Nazareth
Nazareth
Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up predominantly of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel...

 is the largest Arab city, with a population of 65,000, roughly 40,000 of whom are Muslim. Shefa-'Amr
Shefa-'Amr
Shefa-'Amr, also Shfar'am is a predominantly Arab city in the North District of Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , at the end of 2009 the city had a population of 35,300.-Etymology:...

 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
Abu Ghosh
Abu Ghosh is an Israeli Arab town in Israel, located west of Jerusalem on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway. It is situated 610–720 meters above sea level. In 2010, it set the Guinness World Record for largest dish of hummus...

, some 19% of the country’s entire Arab population.

14% of Arab citizens live in the Haifa District
Haifa District
Haifa District is an administrative district surrounding the city of Haifa, Israel. The district is one of six administrative districts of Israel, and its capital is Haifa...

 predominantly in the Wadi Ara
Wadi Ara
Wadi Ara or Nahal Iron , refers to an area within Israel that is mostly populated by Arabs. It is located northwest of the Green Line and is mostly within Israel's Haifa District. Today, Highway 65 runs through the wadi.-Geography:...

 region. Here is the largest Muslim city, Umm al-Fahm
Umm al-Fahm
Umm al-Fahm is a city in the Haifa District of Israel with a population of 43,300, nearly all of whom are Arab citizens of Israel. The city is situated on the Umm al-Fahm mountain ridge, the highest point of which is Mt. Iskander , overlooking Wadi Ara...

, with a population of 43,000. Baqa-Jatt and Carmel City
Carmel City
Carmel City was a short-lived city in the Haifa District of Israel, named after its location on Mount Carmel. In 2003, the two Druze towns Daliyat al-Karmel and Isfiya were merged to become one city, initially known as Daliyat al-Karmel-Isfiya, and renamed to Carmel City in 2005.The merger was...

 are the two second largest Arab population centers in the district. The city of Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 has an Arab population of 9%, much of it in the Wadi Nisnas
Wadi Nisnas
Wadi Nisnas is an Arab neighborhood in the city of Haifa in northern Israel. Nisnas is the Arabic word for mongoose, an indigenous animal. The wadi has a population of about 8,000 inhabitants....

 neighborhood.

10% of the country's Arab population resides in the Center District
Center District (Israel)
The Central District of Israel is one of six administrative districts, including most of the Sharon region. The district capital is Ramla. It is further divided into 4 sub-districts: Petah Tikva, Ramla, Sharon and Rehovot. The district's largest city is Rishon LeZion. Its population as of 2008 was...

 of Israel, primarily the cities of Tayibe
Tayibe
Tayibe is an Israeli Arab city in central Israel, 12 kilometers east of Kfar Saba. In 2007, it had a population of 36,800. Tayibe is part of the Triangle.-History:...

, Tira, and Qalansawe
Qalansawe
Qalansawe also Qalansuwa is an Arab city in the Center District of Israel. According to Israel Central Bureau of Statistics statistics for the end of 2007, the total population was 18,500...

 as well as the mixed cities of Lod
Lod
Lod is a city located on the Sharon Plain southeast of Tel Aviv in the Center District of Israel. At the end of 2010, it had a population of 70,000, roughly 75 percent Jewish and 25 percent Arab.The name is derived from the Biblical city of Lod...

 and Ramla
Ramla
Ramla , is a city in central Israel. The city is predominantly Jewish with a significant Arab minority. Ramla was founded circa 705–715 AD by the Umayyad Caliph Suleiman ibn Abed al-Malik after the Arab conquest of the region...

 which have mainly Jewish populations.

Of the remaining 11%, 10% live in Bedouin communities in the northwestern Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

. The Bedouin city of Rahat
Rahat
Rahat is a predominantly Bedouin city in the South District of Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , at the end of 2009 the city had a total population of 51,700...

 is the only Arab city in the South District
South District (Israel)
The Southern District is one of Israel's six administrative districts, and is the largest in terms of land area as well as the most sparsely populated. It covers most of the Negev desert, as well as the Arabah valley. The population of the Southern District is 1,002,400. It is 86% Jewish and 14%...

 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
Nazareth Illit
Nazareth Illit is a city in the North District of Israel. At the end of 2007 it had a population of 40,800.Nazareth Illit was founded in the 1950s. Foundations were laid in 1954 and first residents moved in two years later...

 with an Arab population of 9% and Tel Aviv-Yafo
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

, 4%.

In February 2008, the government announced that the first new Arab city would be constructed in Israel. According to Haaretz
Haaretz
Haaretz is Israel's oldest daily newspaper. It was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International Herald Tribune. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet...

, "[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."

Major Arab localities



Arabs make up the majority of the population of the "heart of the Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

" and of the areas along the Green Line
Green Line (Israel)
Green Line refers to the demarcation lines set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbours after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

 including the Wadi Ara
Wadi Ara
Wadi Ara or Nahal Iron , refers to an area within Israel that is mostly populated by Arabs. It is located northwest of the Green Line and is mostly within Israel's Haifa District. Today, Highway 65 runs through the wadi.-Geography:...

 region. Bedouin Arabs make up the majority of the northeastern section of the Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

.



Significant population centers
LocalityPopulationDistrict
Nazareth
Nazareth
Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up predominantly of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel...

66,300 North
North District (Israel)
The Northern District is one of Israel's six administrative districts. The Northern District has a land area of 4,478 km², which increases to 4,638  km² when both land and water are included...

Umm al-Fahm
Umm al-Fahm
Umm al-Fahm is a city in the Haifa District of Israel with a population of 43,300, nearly all of whom are Arab citizens of Israel. The city is situated on the Umm al-Fahm mountain ridge, the highest point of which is Mt. Iskander , overlooking Wadi Ara...

44,400 Haifa
Haifa District
Haifa District is an administrative district surrounding the city of Haifa, Israel. The district is one of six administrative districts of Israel, and its capital is Haifa...

Rahat
Rahat
Rahat is a predominantly Bedouin city in the South District of Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , at the end of 2009 the city had a total population of 51,700...

43,700 South
South District (Israel)
The Southern District is one of Israel's six administrative districts, and is the largest in terms of land area as well as the most sparsely populated. It covers most of the Negev desert, as well as the Arabah valley. The population of the Southern District is 1,002,400. It is 86% Jewish and 14%...

Tayibe
Tayibe
Tayibe is an Israeli Arab city in central Israel, 12 kilometers east of Kfar Saba. In 2007, it had a population of 36,800. Tayibe is part of the Triangle.-History:...

35,500 Center
Center District (Israel)
The Central District of Israel is one of six administrative districts, including most of the Sharon region. The district capital is Ramla. It is further divided into 4 sub-districts: Petah Tikva, Ramla, Sharon and Rehovot. The district's largest city is Rishon LeZion. Its population as of 2008 was...

Shefa-'Amr
Shefa-'Amr
Shefa-'Amr, also Shfar'am is a predominantly Arab city in the North District of Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , at the end of 2009 the city had a population of 35,300.-Etymology:...

34,900 North
North District (Israel)
The Northern District is one of Israel's six administrative districts. The Northern District has a land area of 4,478 km², which increases to 4,638  km² when both land and water are included...

Baqa-Jatt 33,100 Haifa
Haifa District
Haifa District is an administrative district surrounding the city of Haifa, Israel. The district is one of six administrative districts of Israel, and its capital is Haifa...

Shaghur 30,500 North
North District (Israel)
The Northern District is one of Israel's six administrative districts. The Northern District has a land area of 4,478 km², which increases to 4,638  km² when both land and water are included...

Tamra
Tamra
Tamra is an Israeli Arab city in the North District of Israel located in the Lower Galilee north of the city of Shefa-'Amr and approximately east of Akko . The name Tamra means date palm in Arabic...

27,800 North
North District (Israel)
The Northern District is one of Israel's six administrative districts. The Northern District has a land area of 4,478 km², which increases to 4,638  km² when both land and water are included...

Sakhnin
Sakhnin
Sakhnin is a city in Israel's North District. It is located in the Lower Galilee, about east of Acre. Sakhnin was declared a city in 1995. Its population of 25,100 is Arab, mostly Muslim with a sizable Christian minority. It is located on the site of the ancient Jewish town Sikhnin, which...

25,500 North
North District (Israel)
The Northern District is one of Israel's six administrative districts. The Northern District has a land area of 4,478 km², which increases to 4,638  km² when both land and water are included...

Carmel City
Carmel City
Carmel City was a short-lived city in the Haifa District of Israel, named after its location on Mount Carmel. In 2003, the two Druze towns Daliyat al-Karmel and Isfiya were merged to become one city, initially known as Daliyat al-Karmel-Isfiya, and renamed to Carmel City in 2005.The merger was...

25,200 Haifa
Haifa District
Haifa District is an administrative district surrounding the city of Haifa, Israel. The district is one of six administrative districts of Israel, and its capital is Haifa...

Tira 21,900 Center
Center District (Israel)
The Central District of Israel is one of six administrative districts, including most of the Sharon region. The district capital is Ramla. It is further divided into 4 sub-districts: Petah Tikva, Ramla, Sharon and Rehovot. The district's largest city is Rishon LeZion. Its population as of 2008 was...

Arraba
Arraba
Arraba is Israel's fourth largest local council and largest Israeli Arab local council. It is located in the Lower Galilee in the North District, to the north of Nazareth and adjacent to Sakhnin and Deir Hanna...

21,100 North
North District (Israel)
The Northern District is one of Israel's six administrative districts. The Northern District has a land area of 4,478 km², which increases to 4,638  km² when both land and water are included...

Maghar 19,600 North
North District (Israel)
The Northern District is one of Israel's six administrative districts. The Northern District has a land area of 4,478 km², which increases to 4,638  km² when both land and water are included...

Kafr Kanna 18,800 North
North District (Israel)
The Northern District is one of Israel's six administrative districts. The Northern District has a land area of 4,478 km², which increases to 4,638  km² when both land and water are included...

Qalansawe
Qalansawe
Qalansawe also Qalansuwa is an Arab city in the Center District of Israel. According to Israel Central Bureau of Statistics statistics for the end of 2007, the total population was 18,500...

19,500 Center
Center District (Israel)
The Central District of Israel is one of six administrative districts, including most of the Sharon region. The district capital is Ramla. It is further divided into 4 sub-districts: Petah Tikva, Ramla, Sharon and Rehovot. The district's largest city is Rishon LeZion. Its population as of 2008 was...



Perceived demographic threat


In the northern part of Israel the percentage of Jewish population is declining. The increasing population of Arabs within Israel, and the majority status they hold in two major geographic regions — the Galilee and the Triangle
Triangle (Israel)
The Triangle , formerly referred to as the Little Triangle, is a concentration of Israeli Arab towns and villages adjacent to the Green Line, located in the eastern Sharon plain among the Samarian foothills; this area is located within the easternmost boundaries of both the Center District and...

 — 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." Among Arabs, Muslims have the highest birth rate, followed by Druze, and then Christians.
The phrase demographic threat (or demographic bomb) is used within the Israeli political sphere
Politics of Israel
The Israeli system of government is based on parliamentary democracy. The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of government and leader of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in the Knesset. The Judiciary is independent of the executive...

 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
Benny Morris
Benny Morris is professor of History in the Middle East Studies department of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in the city of Be'er Sheva, Israel...

 stated in 2004 that while he strongly opposes expulsion of Israeli Arabs, in case of an "apocalyptic" scenario where Israel comes under total attack with non-conventional weapons and comes under existential threat, an expulsion might be the only option. He compared the Israeli Arabs to a "time bomb" and "a potential fifth column
Fifth column
A fifth column is a group of people who clandestinely undermine a larger group such as a nation from within.-Origin:The term originated with a 1936 radio address by Emilio Mola, a Nationalist General during the 1936–39 Spanish Civil War...

" in both demographic and security terms and said they are liable to undermine the state in time of war.

Several politicians have viewed the Arabs in Israel as a security and demographic threat.

The term "demographic bomb" was famously used by Benjamin Netanyahu in 2003 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
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 by Arab Knesset members and a range of civil rights and human rights organizations, such as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. Even earlier allusions to the "demographic threat" can be found in an internal Israeli government document drafted in 1976 known as the Koenig Memorandum
Koenig Memorandum
The Koenig Memorandum was a confidential and internal Israeli government document authored in April 1976 by Yisrael Koenig, a member of the Alignment , who served as the Northern District Commissioner of the Ministry of the Interior for 26 years.The document put forward a number of strategic...

, which laid out a plan for reducing the number and influence of Arab citizens of Israel in the Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

 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
Polygamy
Polygamy is a marriage which includes more than two partners...

 in the Bedouin sector a “security threat” and advocated means of reducing the birth rate in the Arab sector. The Population Administration is a department of the Demographic Council, whose purpose, according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics is: “...to increase the Jewish birthrate by encouraging women to have more children using government grants, housing benefits, and other incentives.” 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."

A study released in 2011 showed that Israel's Jewish population had increased, while the Israeli-Arab population declined. The study showed that in 2010, Jewish birthrates rose by 31% and 19,000 diaspora Jews immigrated to Israel, while the Arab birthrate fell by 1.7%.

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
Wadi Ara
Wadi Ara or Nahal Iron , refers to an area within Israel that is mostly populated by Arabs. It is located northwest of the Green Line and is mostly within Israel's Haifa District. Today, Highway 65 runs through the wadi.-Geography:...

 area (west of the Green Line
Green Line (Israel)
Green Line refers to the demarcation lines set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbours after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

) to a future Palestinian state, in return for formal sovereignty over the major Jewish settlement "blocks" that lie inside the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 east of the Green Line.

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
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 (e.g. Tayibe
Tayibe
Tayibe is an Israeli Arab city in central Israel, 12 kilometers east of Kfar Saba. In 2007, it had a population of 36,800. Tayibe is part of the Triangle.-History:...

, Umm al-Fahm
Umm al-Fahm
Umm al-Fahm is a city in the Haifa District of Israel with a population of 43,300, nearly all of whom are Arab citizens of Israel. The city is situated on the Umm al-Fahm mountain ridge, the highest point of which is Mt. Iskander , overlooking Wadi Ara...

, Baqa al-Gharbiyye
Baqa al-Gharbiyye
Baqa al-Gharbiyye is a predominantly Arab city in the Haifa District in Israel, located near the Green Line. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , at the end of 2001 the city had a total population of 19,200...

), to the jurisdiction of the Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian Authority is the administrative organization established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip...

 in exchange for Israeli settlement
Israeli settlement
An Israeli settlement is a Jewish civilian community built on land that was captured by Israel from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and is considered occupied territory by the international community. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank...

s located inside the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

. As the London Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

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."

In October 2006, Yisrael Beiteinu formally joined in the ruling government's parliamentary coalition, headed by Kadima
Kadima
Kadima is a centrist and liberal political party in Israel. It was established on 24 November 2005 by moderates from Likud largely to support the issue of Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and was soon joined by like-minded Labor politicians...

. After the Israeli Cabinet
Cabinet of Israel
The Cabinet of Israel is a formal body composed of government officials called ministers, chosen and led by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister must appoint members based on the distribution of votes to political parties during legislative elections, and its composition must be approved by a...

 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
Ophir Pines-Paz
Ophir Pines-Paz is an Israeli former politician who served as Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of Science, Culture & Sport and as a member of the Knesset for the Labor Party from 1996 until 2010.-Biography:...

, resigned his post. In his resignation letter to Ehud Olmert, Pines-Paz wrote, "I couldn't sit in a government with a minister who preaches racism."

The Lieberman Plan
Lieberman Plan
The Lieberman Plan, also known in Israel as the "Populated-Area Exchange Plan", was proposed in May 2004 by Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the Israeli political party Yisrael Beiteinu...

 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. In a survey conducted by Kul Al-Arab among 1,000 residents of Um Al-Fahm, 83 percent of respondents opposed the idea of transferring their city to Palestinian jurisdiction, while 11 percent supported the proposal and 6 percent did not express their position.

Of those opposed to the idea, 54% said that they were against becoming part of a Palestinian state because they wanted to continue living under a democratic regime and enjoying a good standard of living. Of these opponents, 18% said that they were satisfied with their present situation, that they were born in Israel and that they were not interested in moving to any other state. Another 14% of this same group said that they were not prepared to make sacrifices for the sake of the creation of a Palestinian state. Another 11 percent cited no reason for their opposition.

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. 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
Blueprint Negev
Blueprint Negev is a Jewish National Fund project to develop the Negev region of Israel.The project aims to increase the Negev's population by 250,000 new residents, improving transportation infrastructure, adding businesses and employment opportunities, preserving water resources and protecting...

, address this concern.

Arab political parties


There are three mainstream Arab parties in Israel: Hadash
Hadash
Hadash is a Jewish and Arab socialist front of organizations that runs for the Israeli parliament. It currently has four members in the 120-seat Knesset.-Background:...

 (a joint Arab-Jewish party with a large Arab presence), Balad, and the United Arab List
United Arab List
The United Arab List , commonly known in Israel by its Hebrew acronym Ra'am , is a political party representing and supported by Israeli Arabs...

, which is a coalition of several different political organizations including the Islamic Movement in Israel
Islamic Movement in Israel
The Islamic Movement in Israel is a movement that aims to advocate Islam among Israeli Arabs. It operates on three levels: religious , social and anti-Zionist...

. In addition to these, there is Ta'al
Ta'al
Ta'al is an Israeli Arab political party in Israel led by Ahmad Tibi.-History:Ta'al was founded by Tibi in the mid 1990s. It ran in the 1996 elections under the name Arab Union, but won only 2,087 votes . For the 1999 elections it ran as part of the Balad list. Tibi won a seat, and broke away from...

. All of these parties primarily represent Arab-Israeli and Palestinian interests, and the Islamic Movement is an Islamist
Islamism
Islamism also , lit., "Political Islam" is set of ideologies holding that Islam is not only a religion but also a political system. Islamism is a controversial term, and definitions of it sometimes vary...

 organization with two factions: one which opposes Israel's existence, and another which opposes its existence as a Jewish state. Two Arab parties ran in Israel's first election in 1949
Israeli legislative election, 1949
Elections for the Constituent Assembly were held in newly independent Israel on 25 January 1949. Voter turnout was 86.9%. Two days after its first meeting on 14 February 1949, legislators voted to change the name of the body to the Knesset...

, with one, the Democratic List of Nazareth
Democratic List of Nazareth
The Democratic List of Nazareth was a political party in Israel and the only Israeli Arab party to win seats in the first Knesset. The party, which was sponsored by David Ben-Gurion's Mapai, was so named as it was based in Nazareth, the largest Arab city in Israel.-History:In the 1949 elections,...

, winning two seats. Until the 1960s all Arab parties in the Knesset were aligned with Mapai
Mapai
Mapai was a left-wing political party in Israel, and was the dominant force in Israeli politics until its merger into the Israeli Labor Party in 1968...

, the ruling party.

A minority of Arabs join and vote for Zionist
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 parties; in the 2006 elections 30% of the Arab vote went to such parties, up from 25% in 2003, though down on the 1999 (30.5%) and 1996 elections
Israeli legislative election, 1996
Elections for the fourteenth Knesset were held in Israel on 29 May 1996. Voter turnout was 79.3%.The 1996 elections included two new changes, both designed to increase the stability of the Knesset. First, the Prime Minister was to be elected on a separate ballot from the remaining members of the...

 (33.4%). 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
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 and Yisrael Beiteinu, as well as the centrist Kadima
Kadima
Kadima is a centrist and liberal political party in Israel. It was established on 24 November 2005 by moderates from Likud largely to support the issue of Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and was soon joined by like-minded Labor politicians...

.

Representation in the Knesset



Palestinian Arabs sat in the state's first parliamentary assembly; as of 2011, 13 of the 120 members of the Israeli Parliament
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 are Arab citizens, most representing Arab political parties, and one of Israel's Supreme Court
Supreme Court of Israel
The Supreme Court is at the head of the court system and highest judicial instance in Israel. The Supreme Court sits in Jerusalem.The area of its jurisdiction is all of Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories. A ruling of the Supreme Court is binding upon every court, other than the Supreme...

 judges is a Palestinian Arab.

Some Arab Members of the Knesset, 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
Azmi Bishara
Azmi Bishara , a former member of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, is a Palestinian intellectual, academic, politician, and writer.In 2007, Bishara fled Israel and resigned from the Knesset after being questioned by police on suspicion of aiding and passing information to the enemy during...

, Jamal Zahalka
Jamal Zahalka
Dr Jamal Zahalka is an Israeli Arab who serves as a member of the Knesset representing the democratic Balad party. He is a Balad party leader.-Background:...

, and Wasil Taha
Wasil Taha
Wasil Taha is an Israeli-Arab politician and member of the Knesset for the Israeli Arab party, Balad.-Biography:Born in Kafr Kanna in 1952, Taha studied Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Haifa, receiving a BA....

 visited Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 without requesting nor receiving such permission, and a criminal investigation of their actions was launched. Former Arab Member of Knesset Muhammad Miari was questioned 18 September 2006 by police on suspicion of having entered a designated enemy country without official permission. He was questioned "under caution" for 2.5 hours in the Petah Tikva
Petah Tikva
Petah Tikva known as Em HaMoshavot , is a city in the Center District of Israel, east of Tel Aviv.According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, at the end of 2009, the city's population stood at 209,600. The population density is approximately...

 station about his recent visit to Syria. Another former Arab Member of Knesset, Muhammad Kanaan, was also summoned for police questioning regarding the same trip. In 2010, six Arab MKs visited Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

, an openly anti-Zionist Arab state, and met with Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

 and various senior government officials. Gaddafi urged them to seek a one-state solution, and for Arabs to "multiply" in order to counter any "plots" to expel them.

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. 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"

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. In January 2004, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

 declared that every state-run company must have at least one Arab citizen of Israel on its board of directors.

Representation in political, judicial and military positions




Cabinet:
Nawaf Massalha
Nawaf Massalha
Nawaf Massalha is an Israeli Arab politician. He became the first Muslim Arab to hold a ministerial position in the Israeli government when he was appointed Deputy Minister of Health by Yitzhak Rabin in 1992.-Background:...

, an Arab Muslim, has served in various junior ministerial roles, including Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, since 1999. 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
Salah Tarif
Salah Tarif is a Druze Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset between 1992 and 2006. When appointed Minister without Portfolio by Ariel Sharon in 2001, he became Israel's first non-Jewish government minister.-Biography:...

, 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
Political corruption
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by...

. In 2007 the first non-Druze Arab minister in Israel's history, Raleb Majadele
Raleb Majadele
Ghaleb Majadele is an Israeli Arab politician. A member of the Knesset for the Labor Party, he became the country's first Muslim minister when appointed Minister without Portfolio on 28 January 2007.-Biography:...

, was appointed a minister without portfolio, and a month later appointed minister for Science, Culture and Sport.
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. Meanwhile Arab lawmakers called the appointment an attempt to "whitewash Israel's discriminatory policies against its Arab minority".

Knesset:
Arab citizens of Israel have been elected to every Knesset
Arab members of the Knesset
There have been Israeli Arab members of the Knesset since the first Knesset elections in 1949. The following is a list of the sixty-three past and present members. Some Israeli Druze dispute the label "Arab" and consider Druze a separate ethnic group, however they are still included in this...

, and currently hold 12 of its 120 seats. The first female Arab MP was Hussniya Jabara
Hussniya Jabara
Hussniya Jabara is a former Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset for Meretz between 1999 and 2003. She was the first Israeli Arab woman to become a Knesset member.-Biography:Jabara was born to a Muslim farming family in Tayibe...

, a Muslim Arab from central Israel, who was elected in 1999.

Supreme Court:
Abdel Rahman Zuabi
Abdel Rahman Zuabi
Abdel Rahman Zuabi also Romanized as Abd-er-Rahman Zoabi) is a retired Israeli judge, who served as a deputy chief of the district court in Nazareth between 1996 and 2002...

, 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
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 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
Criminal law
Criminal law, is the body of law that relates to crime. It might be defined as the body of rules that defines conduct that is not allowed because it is held to threaten, harm or endanger the safety and welfare of people, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on people who do not obey...

.

Foreign Service:
Ali Yahya
Ali Yahya
Ali Yahya is an Israeli Arab diplomat. He became the first Israeli ambassador of Arab descent in 1995 when he was appointed ambassador to Finland, a post in which he served until 1999. In 2006 Yahya was appointed Israeli ambassador to Greece.-Biography:Yahya was born in 1947 and raised in Nazareth...

, an Arab Muslim, became the first Arab ambassador for Israel in 1995 when he was appointed ambassador to Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

. He served until 1999, and in 2006 was appointed ambassador to Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

. Other Arab ambassadors include Walid Mansour, a Druze, appointed ambassador to Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 in 1999, and Reda Mansour
Reda Mansour
Reda Mansour is a Druze Israeli poet, historian and Diplomat. He has published three books of Hebrew poetry and received the University of Haifa Miller Award as well as the State President Scholarship for young writers....

, also a Druze, a former ambassador to Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

. 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.

Israel Defense Forces:
Arab Generals in the IDF include Major General Hussain Fares, commander of Israel's border police, and Major General Yosef Mishlav
Yosef Mishlav
Aluf Yusef Mishleb is a former Druze general in the Israel Defense Forces serving last in the position as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. Mishleb retired in September 2008 after four years in the job and over 35 years in the Israel Defense Forces.Mishleb is a...

, head of the Home Front Command and current Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories
Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories is a unit in the Israeli Ministry of Defense that engages in coordinating civilian issues between the Government of Israel, the Israel Defense Forces, international organizations, diplomats, and the Palestinian...

. Both are members of the Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

 community. Other high ranking officers in the IDF include Lieutenant Colonel Amos Yarkoni
Amos Yarkoni
Lieutenant Colonel Amos Yarkoni , born as Abd el-Majid Hidr was 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...

 (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
Medal of Distinguished Service
The Medal of Distinguished Service is an Israeli military decoration.- Overview :The medal has instituted in 1970 by act of law in the Knesset and could also be awarded also for actions performed before 1970....

.

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."

Other political organizations and movements


Abna el-Balad:
Abnaa el-Balad
Abnaa el-Balad
Abnaa el-Balad is a secular movement made up of Palestinians, most of whom are Arab citizens of Israel. The stated goals of the movement are: the return of all Palestinian refugees, an end to Israeli's occupation of territories and the establishment of a democratic, secular Palestinian state.While...

 is a political movement that grew out of organizing by Arab university youth, beginning in 1969. 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."

High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel
The High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel
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...

 is an extra-parliamentary umbrella organization that represents Arab citizens of Israel at the national level. It is "the top representative body deliberating matters of general concern to the entire Arab community and making binding decisions." While it enjoys de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

recognition from the State of Israel, it lacks official or de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

recognition from the state for its activities in this capacity.

Ta'ayush:
Ta'ayush
Ta'ayush
Ta'ayush is a grassroots non-violent organization established in the fall of 2000, by Gadi Algazy and a group of Palestinians and Jewish citizens of Israel. It describes itself as "a grassroots movement of Arabs and Jews working to break down the walls of racism and segregation by constructing a...

 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."

Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages:
The Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages
Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages
The Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages is a democratic representative body for the 80,000-something residents of the Bedouin unrecognized villages of the Negev Desert. The residents of the Bedouin unrecognized villages belong to no municipalities of their own and thus cannot elect...

 is a body of unofficial representatives of the 40-something unrecognized villages
Unrecognized villages
The term Unrecognized Bedouin villages in Israel refers to Arab villages in the Negev and the Galilee which the Israeli government does not recognize as legal settlements. Approximately half of Bedouin citizens of Israel live in 39-45 such villages...

 throughout the Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

 region in the south, whose residents have little representation as compared with those in recognized municipalities.

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." A number of attempts were done to disqualify Arab parties based on this rule, however as of 2010, all such attempts were either rejected by the Israeli Central Elections Committee or overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court.

Progressive List for Peace


An Israeli Central Elections Committee
Israeli Central Elections Committee
The Israeli Central Elections Committee is the body charged under the Knesset Elections Law of 1969 to carry out the elections for the upcoming Knesset. The committee is composed of Knesset members representating various parliamentary groups and is chaired by a Supreme Court Justice...

 ruling which allowed the Progressive List for Peace
Progressive List for Peace
The Progressive List for Peace was a left-wing political party in Israel formed from an alliance of both Arab and Jewish left-wing activists.-History:...

 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.

Balad


In December 2002, Azmi Bishara
Azmi Bishara
Azmi Bishara , a former member of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, is a Palestinian intellectual, academic, politician, and writer.In 2007, Bishara fled Israel and resigned from the Knesset after being questioned by police on suspicion of aiding and passing information to the enemy during...

 and his party, Balad, which calls for Israel to become "a state of all its citizens," were banned by the Israeli Central Elections Committee
Israeli Central Elections Committee
The Israeli Central Elections Committee is the body charged under the Knesset Elections Law of 1969 to carry out the elections for the upcoming Knesset. The committee is composed of Knesset members representating various parliamentary groups and is chaired by a Supreme Court Justice...

, for refusing to recognize Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state" and making statements promoting armed struggle against it. The Supreme Court overruled the decision in January 2003. Bishara served as a Knesset member from 1996 to 2007. He reportedly told an audience in Lebanon in December 2005 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". Bishara resigned his Knesset office and left the country in 2007 amidst news that criminal charges were being laid against him. He has been charged with espionage and money laundering, stemming from allegations that he gave Hizbullah information on strategic targets that should be attacked with rockets during the 2006 Lebanon War, in exchange for large amounts of money.

United Arab List – Ta'al and Balad


In 2009, United Arab List – Ta'al and Balad were disqualified, on grounds that they do not recognize the State of Israel and call for armed conflict against it. The Supreme Court of Israel
Supreme Court of Israel
The Supreme Court is at the head of the court system and highest judicial instance in Israel. The Supreme Court sits in Jerusalem.The area of its jurisdiction is all of Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories. A ruling of the Supreme Court is binding upon every court, other than the Supreme...

 overturned the Committee's decision by a majority of eight to one.

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.

The rights of citizens are guaranteed by a set of basic laws
Basic Laws of Israel
The Basic Laws of Israel are a key component of Israel's constitutional law. These laws deal with the formation and role of the principal state's institutions, and the relations between the state's authorities. Some of them also protect civil rights...

 (Israel does not have a written constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

). 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" and "Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation (1994)" as guaranteeing equal rights for all Israeli citizens.

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)." 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.

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
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

versus de facto quality of their citizenship. The joint document The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel
The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel
The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel is a joint document put together by prominent Arab citizens of Israel in December 2006, that calls for the state of Israel to shed its Jewish identity and become "a state of all its citizens". The document caused a great deal of controversy, even...

, 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
Law of Return
The Law of Return is Israeli legislation, passed on 5 July 1950, that gives Jews the right of return and settlement in Israel and gain citizenship...

) and land policy (the Jewish National Fund
Jewish National Fund
The Jewish National Fund was founded in 1901 to buy and develop land in Ottoman Palestine for Jewish settlement. The JNF is a quasi-governmental, non-profit organisation...

), and calls for the establishment of minority rights protections enforced by an independent anti-discrimination commission.

A 2004 report by Mossawa, an advocacy center for Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel, states that since the events of October 2000
October 2000 events
The October 2000 events were a series of protests in Arab villages in northern Israel in October 2000 that turned violent, escalating into clashes between Israeli Arabs and the Israel Police and ending in the deaths of demonstrators.The Or Commission was established to investigate the police...

, 16 Arabs had been killed by security forces, bringing the total to 29 victims of "institutional violence" in four years. Ahmed Sa'adi, in his article on The Concept of Protest and its Representation by the Or Commission, states that since 1948 the only protestors to be killed by the police have been Arabs.

Arabic and Hebrew as official languages



Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 is one of Israel's official languages, and the use of Arabic increased significantly following Supreme Court
Supreme Court of Israel
The Supreme Court is at the head of the court system and highest judicial instance in Israel. The Supreme Court sits in Jerusalem.The area of its jurisdiction is all of Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories. A ruling of the Supreme Court is binding upon every court, other than the Supreme...

 rulings in the 1990s. Government ministries publish all material intended for the public in Hebrew, with selected material translated into Arabic, English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

, and other languages spoken in Israel. There are laws which secure the Arab population's 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. Publishing the law in Hebrew in the official gazette
Official Gazette
The Official Gazette of Iraq has been the official source for the laws and resolutions passed by the Council of Representatives of Iraq since August 1922. Article 125 of the Constitution mandates that laws shall be published in the gazette and shall take effect on the date of their publication,...

 (Reshumot
Reshumot
Reshumot is the gazette of record for the State of Israel, in which official records and laws are published. Originally called Iton Rishmi , its name was changed in the 1949 Transition Law to the current name - Reshumot.Reshumot files are published by the Governmental Printer and are distributed...

) 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. 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.

Israeli national symbols



Some Arab politicians have requested a reevaluation of the Israeli flag
Flag of Israel
The flag of Israel was adopted on October 28, 1948, five months after the country's establishment. It depicts a blue Star of David on a white background, between two horizontal blue stripes...

 and national anthem
Hatikvah
"Hatikvah" is the national anthem of Israel. The anthem was written by Naphtali Herz Imber, a secular Galician Jew from Zolochiv , who moved to the Land of Israel in the early 1880s....

, arguing that the Star of David
Star of David
The Star of David, known in Hebrew as the Shield of David or Magen David is a generally recognized symbol of Jewish identity and Judaism.Its shape is that of a hexagram, the compound of two equilateral triangles...

 at the flag's center is an exclusively Jewish symbol, and Hatikvah
Hatikvah
"Hatikvah" is the national anthem of Israel. The anthem was written by Naphtali Herz Imber, a secular Galician Jew from Zolochiv , who moved to the Land of Israel in the early 1880s....

 does not represent Arab citizens, since it speaks of the Jewish people's desire to return to their homeland. The High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel
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...

 and the National Committee for the Heads of the Arab Local Authorities in Israel stated in 2006,

Independence Day


In Israel, Independence Day takes place on 5 Iyar according to the Hebrew calendar
Hebrew calendar
The Hebrew calendar , or Jewish calendar, is a lunisolar calendar used today predominantly for Jewish religious observances. It determines the dates for Jewish holidays and the appropriate public reading of Torah portions, yahrzeits , and daily Psalm reading, among many ceremonial uses...

, which means it falls on different dates every year under the Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

. Arab citizens of Israel generally mark al-Nakba both on this day, and on 15 May, as do other Palestinians. Druze soldiers, however, were present at Israel's first Independence Day Parade in 1949, and there have since been parades for Druze and Circassians, as well as special events for Bedouins, on Independence Day.

In January 2008, the mayor of Shefa-'Amr, Ursan Yassin, met with officials of the Israeli state committee on the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of independence and announced that Shefa-'Amr intended to take part in the celebrations. He stated: "This is our country and we completely disapprove of the statements made by the Higher Monitoring Committee. I want to hold a central ceremony in Shefa-'Amr, raise all the flags and have a huge feast. The 40,000 residents of Shefa-'Amr feel that they are a part of the State of Israel...The desire to participate in the festivities is shared by most of the residents. We will not raise our children to hate the country. This is our country and we want to live in coexistence with its Jewish residents."

Citizenship and Entry Law


On 31 July 2003, Israel enacted the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law
Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law
The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law 5763 is an Israeli law first passed on 31 July, 2003 and most recently extended in June 2008...

 (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
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 or Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 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 four months in February 2005. On 8 May 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. 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.

Although this law theoretically applies to all Israelis, it has disproportionately affected Arab citizens of Israel; Arabs are far more likely to have Palestinian spouses than other Israelis. Thus the law has been widely considered discriminatory and the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 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.

Civil rights


The Israeli Declaration of Independence stated that the State of Israel would ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex, and guaranteed freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture. 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
Or Commission
The Or Commission was a panel of inquiry appointed by the Israeli government to investigate the events of October 2000 at the beginning of the Second Intifada in which 12 Arab citizens of Israel and one Palestinian were killed by Israeli police amidst several demonstrations...

:
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.


The Or Commission report also states 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
Al-Sarafand
Al-Sarafand was an Arab village near the Mediterranean shore south of Haifa. In Ottoman tax records, it is shown that the village had a population of 61 inhabitants in 1596...

 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
Discrimination
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

 against the country's Arab citizens."

The 2004 U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices notes that:
  • "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
    Construction permit
    A construction permit or building permit is a permit required in most jurisdictions for new construction, or adding on to pre-existing structures, and in some cases for major renovations. Generally, the new construction must be inspected during construction and after completion to ensure compliance...

     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
    Military service
    Military service, in its simplest sense, is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia, whether as a chosen job or as a result of an involuntary draft . Some nations require a specific amount of military service from every citizen...

     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
    Subsidy
    A subsidy is an assistance paid to a business or economic sector. Most subsidies are made by the government to producers or distributors in an industry to prevent the decline of that industry or an increase in the prices of its products or simply to encourage it to hire more labor A subsidy (also...

    , 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 University of Haifa
    University of Haifa
    The University of Haifa is a university in Haifa, Israel.The University of Haifa was founded in 1963 by Haifa mayor Abba Hushi, to operate under the academic auspices of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem....

     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
    Poverty
    Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

    , unemployment
    Unemployment
    Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

    , 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 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."

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.

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.

In March 2010, a report released by several Israeli civil rights groups stated that the current Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 was "the most racist in Israeli history" with 21 bills proposed in 2008 and 2009 that would discriminate against the country's Arab minority.

A preliminary report commissioned by Israel’s Courts Administration and the Israel Bar Association found in 2011 that Israeli Arabs are more likely than Israeli Jews to be convicted of crimes after being charged, more likely to be given custodial sentences, and were given longer sentences. It did not account for "mitigating or aggravating circumstances, prior criminal record and the convict’s gender."

Property ownership and housing



The Jewish National Fund
Jewish National Fund
The Jewish National Fund was founded in 1901 to buy and develop land in Ottoman Palestine for Jewish settlement. The JNF is a quasi-governmental, non-profit organisation...

 is a private organization established in 1901 to buy and develop land in the Land of Israel
Land of Israel
The Land of Israel is the Biblical name for the territory roughly corresponding to the area encompassed by the Southern Levant, also known as Canaan and Palestine, Promised Land and Holy Land. The belief that the area is a God-given homeland of the Jewish people is based on the narrative of the...

 for Jewish settlement; land purchases were funded by donations from world Jewry exclusively for that purpose. The JNF currently owns 13% of land in Israel, while 79.5% is owned by the government (this land is leased on a non-discriminatory basis), and the rest, around 6.5%, is evenly divided between private Arab and Jewish owners. 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. 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
Land and Property Laws in Israel
Land and property laws in Israel provide a legal framework which governs land and property issues in Israel. At its establishment, Israel continued to apply the pre-existing Ottoman and British land law...

. While the JNF charter specifies the land is for the use of the Jewish People, land has been leased to Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

 herders. Nevertheless, JNF land policy has been criticized as discrimination. When the Israel Land Administration
Israel Land Administration
The Israel Land Administration is part of the government of Israel and is responsible for managing the 93% of the land in Israel which is in the public domain. These lands are either property of the state, belong to the Jewish National Fund which controls 13% of the land, or belong to the Israel...

 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
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

 and the Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

), thus ensuring that the total amount of land owned by the JNF remains the same. 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.

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. As of 2007, the High Court delayed ruling on JNF policy regarding leasing lands to non-Jews, and changes to the ILA-JNF relationship were up in the air. Adalah and other organizations furthermore express concern that proposed severance of the relation between the ILA and JNF, as suggested by Ami Ayalon
Ami Ayalon
Amihai "Ami" Ayalon is an Israeli politician and a former member of the Knesset for the Labor Party. He was previously head of the Shin Bet, Israel's secret service, and commander-in-chief of the Navy...

, 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
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

 communities and 250,000 Jews in new Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

 communities via the Blueprint Negev
Blueprint Negev
Blueprint Negev is a Jewish National Fund project to develop the Negev region of Israel.The project aims to increase the Negev's population by 250,000 new residents, improving transportation infrastructure, adding businesses and employment opportunities, preserving water resources and protecting...

).

The Israel Land Administration
Israel Land Administration
The Israel Land Administration is part of the government of Israel and is responsible for managing the 93% of the land in Israel which is in the public domain. These lands are either property of the state, belong to the Jewish National Fund which controls 13% of the land, or belong to the Israel...

, which administers 93% of the land in Israel (including the land owned by the Jewish National Fund
Jewish National Fund
The Jewish National Fund was founded in 1901 to buy and develop land in Ottoman Palestine for Jewish settlement. The JNF is a quasi-governmental, non-profit organisation...

), 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.

Israeli law also discriminates between Jews and Arabs regarding rights to recover property owned before the dislocations created by the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

. 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 29 November 1947 and 19 May 1948, or by a Palestinian who had merely been abroad or in area of Palestine held by hostile forces up to 1 September 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.

Following the 1967 Six Day War in which Israel occupied the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

, from where it annexed East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

, 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. 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.

Contesting allegations of discrimination


Dr. Tashbih Sayyed
Tashbih Sayyed
Tashbih Sayyed was a Shia Pakistani-American scholar, journalist, and author and was the Editor in Chief of Our Times, Pakistan Today, and In Review. Tashbih Sayyed worked from 1967-1980 for the Pakistan Television Corporation. In 1981, he emigrated to the United States...

, then American journalist and author of Pakistani origin, denied that Muslim Arab citizen of Israel do not have equal rights, and said that Arabs are protected by Israel's democratic principles, and afforded all the rights and privileges of Israeli citizenship. He noted that Israel is amongst the Middle Eastern countries giving Arab women the right to vote. Sayyed asserted that Muslim women are "more liberated in Israel than in any Muslim country".

While groups are not separated by official policy, Israel has a number of different sectors within the society that maintain their strong cultural, religious, ideological, and/or ethnic identity. The Israeli Foreign Ministry maintains that in spite of the existing social cleavages and economic disparities, the political systems and the courts represent strict legal and civic equality. The Israeli Foreign Ministry describes the country as "Not a meltingpot society, but rather more of a mosaic made up of different population groups coexisting in the framework of a democratic state"

According to Ishmael Khaldi, an Arab citizen of Israel and the nation's first high ranking Muslim in the Israeli foreign service, while Israeli society is far from perfect, minorities in Israel fare far better than any other country in the Middle East. He wrote:
I am a proud Israeli – along with many other non-Jewish Israelis such as Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

, Bahai, Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

, Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s and Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s, who live in one of the most culturally diversified societies and the only true democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 in the Middle East. Like America, Israeli society is far from perfect, but let us deal honestly. By any yardstick you choose – educational opportunity, economic development, women and gay's rights, freedom of speech
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

 and assembly, legislative representation – Israel's minorities fare far better than any other country in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

.


The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), a pro-Israel 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.

In 2009, the Israeli Arab Journalist Khaled Abu Toameh
Khaled Abu Toameh
Khaled Abu Toameh is a Israeli Arab journalist and documentary filmmaker. Abu Toameh is the West Bank and Gaza correspondent for the Jerusalem Post and U.S. News and World Report, and has been the Palestinian affairs producer for NBC News since 1988...

 declared to a Muslim audience during the Durban Review Conference
Durban Review Conference
The Durban Review Conference is the official name of the 2009 United Nations World Conference Against Racism , also known as Durban II. The conference ran from Monday 20 April to Friday 24 April 2009, and took place at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland...

, that while there are serious problems facing the Arab sector in Israel, "Israel is a wonderful place to live and we are happy to be there. Israel is a free and open country. If I were given the choice, I would rather live in Israel as a second class citizen than as a first class citizen in Cairo, Gaza, Amman or Ramallah."

Opposition to intermarriage


Intermarriage is prohibited by the Jewish Halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

. 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
Petah Tikva
Petah Tikva known as Em HaMoshavot , is a city in the Center District of Israel, east of Tel Aviv.According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, at the end of 2009, the city's population stood at 209,600. The population density is approximately...

 has also announced an initiative to 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 campaign in schools to warn Jewish girls against dating local Bedouin men.

Knesset


The Mossawa Center — an advocacy organization for Arabs in Israel — blames the Knesset of discrimination against Arabs, citing a 75% increase in discriminatory and racist bills submitted to the Knesset in the year 2009. According to the report, 11 bills deemed by the center to be "discriminatory and racist" were placed on the legislature's table in 2007, while 12 such bills were initiated in 2008. However, in 2009 a full 21 bills deemed discriminatory by the Mossawa Center were discussed in the Knesset.

The reports categorizes as "racist" proposals such as giving academic scholarships to soldiers who served in combat units, and a bill to revoke government funding from organizations acting "against the principles of the State." The Coalition Against Racism and the Mossawa Center said that the proposed legislation seeks to de-legitimize Israel's Arab citizens by decreasing their civil rights.

Economic Status


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. On the other hand, the Minorities at Risk
Minorities at Risk
The Minorities at Risk Data Generation and Management Project is a University of Maryland, College Park based research project that monitors and analyzes the status and conflicts of politically-active minority ethnicities and religious sects in all countries with a current population of at least...

 (MAR) group states that "despite obvious discrimination, Israeli Arabs are relatively much better off economically than neighboring Arabs."

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
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

 began to develop on the margin of the Jewish bourgeoisie. From the 1980s on, the community developed its economic and, in particular, industrial potential.

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.

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.

In February 2007, The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

reported that 53 percent of the impoverished families in Israel were Arabs. Since the majority of Arabs in Israel do not serve in the army, they are ineligible for many financial benefits such as scholarship
Scholarship
A scholarship is an award of financial aid for a student to further education. Scholarships are awarded on various criteria usually reflecting the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award.-Types:...

s and housing loans.

Arab towns in Israel are reluctant to collect city taxes from their residents. 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.

While per capita income is lower in the Arab community, these figures do not take into account age (the average age in the Arab community is lower and young people earn less), the low percentage of women who join the workforce, and the large size of Arab families.

Employment


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

Imad Telhami, founder and CEO of Babcom, a call center in the Tefen
Tefen
Tefen is an international management consulting firm with its world headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel. Founded in 1982, Tefen has amassed a global reach with offices in the United States, United Kingdom, Israel, Germany, Italy and Romania. Tefen works with Fortune 500 companies to improve...

 Industrial Park with 300 employees, is committed to developing career opportunities for Arab workers in Israel. Telhami, a Christian Arab, was a senior executive at the Delta Galil Industries
Delta Galil Industries
Delta Galil Industries is an Israeli textile firm headquartered in Tel Aviv with plants around the world. The owner is Israel Prize laureate Dov Lautman. Delta Galil Industries has an annual turnover of $700 million and is traded on NASDAQ....

 textile plant before establishing Babcom. He hopes to employ 5,000 workers within five years: "Israeli companies have been exporting thousands of jobs to India, Eastern Europe and other spots around the globe. I want to bring the jobs here. There are terrific engineers in the Arab sector, and the potential is huge.

In March 2010, the government approved a $216 million, five-year development plan for the Israeli Arab sector with the goal of increasing job accessibility, particularly for women and academics. Under this program, some 15,000 new employees will be added to the work roster by 2014.

Health


The most common health-related causes of death are heart disease and cancer. Roughly 14% were diagnosed with diabetes in 2000. Around half of all Arab men smoke. Life expectancy has increased 27 years since 1948. Further, due largely to improvements in health care, the Arab infant mortality
Infant mortality
Infant mortality is defined as the number of infant deaths per 1000 live births. Traditionally, the most common cause worldwide was dehydration from diarrhea. However, the spreading information about Oral Re-hydration Solution to mothers around the world has decreased the rate of children dying...

 rate dropped from 32 deaths per thousand births in 1970 to 8.6 per thousand in 2000. 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
Infant mortality
Infant mortality is defined as the number of infant deaths per 1000 live births. Traditionally, the most common cause worldwide was dehydration from diarrhea. However, the spreading information about Oral Re-hydration Solution to mothers around the world has decreased the rate of children dying...

 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. 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.

Education



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.

In 2001, Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

 described government-run Arab schools as "a world apart from government-run Jewish schools." The report found striking differences in virtually every aspect of the education system.

In 2005, the Follow-Up Committee for Arab Education said that the Israeli government spent an average of $192 a year on Arab students compared to $1,100 for Jewish students. The drop-out rate for Arabs was twice as high as for Jews (12 percent versus 6 percent). There was a 5,000-classroom shortage in the Arab sector.

According to the 2004 U.S. State Department
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
United States' Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices are publications on the annual human right conditions in countries and regions outside the United States, submitted annually by the United States Department of State to the United States Congress. The reports cover internationally recognized individual,...

 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. 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."

Arab educators have long voiced concerns over institutionalized budgetary discrimination. An August 2009 study published by the Hebrew University's School of Education claimed that Israel's Education Ministry
Ministry of Education (Israel)
The Israeli Ministry of Education is the branch of government charged with overseeing public education institutions in Israel. The political head of the department is the Minster of Education, currently Gideon Sa'ar....

 discriminated against Arabs in its allocations of special assistance for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds and the average per-student allocation at Arab junior high schools was one-fifth the average at Jewish ones. This was due to the allocation method: funds were 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 large proportion of such students in the Arab sector, they receive less funds, per student, than Jewish students. The Ministry of Education said it was discontinuing this method in favor of a uniform index. Ministry data on the percentage of high school students who passed their matriculation exams showed that Arab towns were ranked lowest except for Fureidis
Fureidis
Fureidis is an Israeli Arab town in the Haifa District of Israel. It received local council status in 1952.-History:Fureidis was established in the 19th century. The name is believed to come from the Arabic , meaning little Garden of Eden, borrowed from the Persian paradise...

, which had the third highest pass rate (75.86 percent) in Israel.

Higher education


Nearly half of Arab students who passed their matriculation exams failed to win a place in higher education because they performed poorly in the Psychometric Entrance Test
Psychometric Entrance Test
The Psychometric Entrance Test is a standardized test in Israel, generally taken as a higher education admission exam. The PET covers three areas: quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning and the English language...

, compared to 20% of Jewish applicants. Khaled Arar, a professor at Beit Berl College, believes the psychometric test is culturally biased: "The gap in psychometric scores between Jewish and Arab students has remained steady — at more than 100 points out of a total of 800 — since 1982. That alone should have raised suspicions."

However, a 1986 research found negligible differences in construct or predictive test validity across varying cultural groups and the findings appeared to be more consistent with the psychometric than with the cultural bias position.

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. Until 2000, each year between 5%–10% of the Bedouin population of draft age volunteered for the Israeli army
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

, and Bedouin were well known for their unique status as volunteers. The legendary Israeli soldier, Amos Yarkoni
Amos Yarkoni
Lieutenant Colonel Amos Yarkoni , born as Abd el-Majid Hidr was 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...

, first commander of the Shaked Reconnaissance Battalion in the Givati Brigade
Givati Brigade
The Givati Brigade is an infantry brigade of the Israel Defense Forces, and serves as its amphibious force. Givati soldiers are designated by purple berets...

, was a Bedouin (born Abd el-Majid Hidr). Today the number of Bedouin in the army may be less than 1%. 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. However, a 2009 article in Haaretz
Haaretz
Haaretz is Israel's oldest daily newspaper. It was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International Herald Tribune. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet...

 stated that volunteer recruitment for a crack elite Bedouin army unit rose threefold.

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.

Druze are required to serve in the IDF
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 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. It is estimated that 85% of Druze men in Israel serve in the army, many of them becoming officers and some rising to general officer rank. In recent years, a growing minority from within the Druze community
Community
The term community has two distinct meanings:*a group of interacting people, possibly living in close proximity, and often refers to a group that shares some common values, and is attributed with social cohesion within a shared geographical location, generally in social units larger than a household...

 have denounced this mandatory enrollment, and refused to serve. In 2001, Said Nafa
Said Nafa
Said Nafa is a politician and lawyer. A Druze Palestinian Arab citizen of Israel, he is a member of the Knesset for the Arab party, Balad.-Biography:...

, 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."

National Service


Rather than perform army service, Israeli Arab youths have the option to volunteer to national service
Sherut Leumi
Sherut Leumi is an alternative voluntary national service in Israel for those that cannot or do not wish to serve in the Israel Defense Forces...

 and receive benefits similar to those received by discharged soldiers. The volunteers are generally allocated to Arab populations, where they assist with social and community matters. there are 1,473 Arabs volunteering for national service. According to sources in the national service administration, Arab leaders are counseling youths to refrain from performing services to the state. According to a National Service official, "For years the Arab leadership has demanded, justifiably, benefits for Arab youths similar to those received by discharged soldiers. Now, when this opportunity is available, it is precisely these leaders who reject the state's call to come and do the service, and receive these benefits".

Surveys and Polls


In a 2004 survey by Sammy Smooha of the University of Haifa
University of Haifa
The University of Haifa is a university in Haifa, Israel.The University of Haifa was founded in 1963 by Haifa mayor Abba Hushi, to operate under the academic auspices of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem....

 Jewish-Arab Center
Jewish-Arab Center
The Jewish Arab Center is a multidisciplinary Research institute in the University of Haifa in Israel, active since 1972 . The head of the center since 2010 is Prof...

, 84.9% of Israeli Arabs stated that Israel has a right to exist as an independent state, and 70% that it has a right to exist as a democratic, Jewish state. A Truman Institute survey from 2005 found that 63% of the Arab citizens accepted the principle that Israel is the state of the Jewish people.

A 2006 poll by the Arab advocacy group The Center Against Racism showed negative attitudes towards Arabs. The poll found that 63% of Jews believe Arabs are a security threat; 68% would refuse to live in the same building as an Arab; 34% believe that Arab culture is inferior to Israeli culture. Support for segregation between Jewish and Arab citizens was higher among Jews of Middle Eastern origin.

An Israeli Democracy Institute
Israeli Democracy Institute
The Israeli Democracy Institute is non-profit organization in Israel, founded in 1991, which aims at forming policies and to initiate reforms in the different fields of the state and its institutions in order to apply laws, implement them and to strengthen the democracy values in Israel.-...

 (IDI) poll in 2007 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." Another survey that year showed that 62% of Israel's Arabs would prefer to remain Israeli citizens rather than become citizens of a future Palestinian state. The figure rose in a 2008 poll: 77% would rather live in Israel as Israeli citizens than in any other country in the world. Another 2007 poll by Sammy Smooha found that 63.3% of Jewish Israelis avoided entering Arab towns and cities; 68.4% feared the possibility of widespread civil unrest among Israeli Arabs; 49.7% of Israeli Arabs justified Hezbollah's capture of IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser
Ehud Goldwasser
Ehud Goldwasser was an Israeli soldier who was abducted in Israel by Hezbollah along with Eldad Regev on 12 July 2006, sparking the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. His rank was First Sergeant....

 and Eldad Regev
Eldad Regev
Eldad Regev was an Israeli soldier, born in Qiryat Motzkin, abducted by Hezbollah members along with Ehud Goldwasser on July 12, 2006, in Israel near the Lebanese border, sparking the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. His rank was Sergeant First Class....

 in a cross-border raid; 18.7% thought Israel was justified in going to war following the kidnapping; 48.2% justified Hezbollah rocket attacks on northern Israel during the 2006 Lebanon War; 89.1% of Israeli Arabs saw the IDF bombing of Lebanon as a war crime, while 44% of Israeli Arabs viewed Hezbollah's bombing of Israel as a war crime; 62% of Israeli Arabs worried that Israel could transfer their communities to the jurisdiction of a future Palestinian state, and 60% said they were concerned about a possible mass expulsion; 76% of Israeli Arabs described Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 as racist; 67.5% of Israeli Arabs would be content to live in the Jewish state alongside a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; 40.5% of Israeli Arab citizens denied the Holocaust ever happened
Holocaust denial
Holocaust denial is the act of denying the genocide of Jews in World War II, usually referred to as the Holocaust. The key claims of Holocaust denial are: the German Nazi government had no official policy or intention of exterminating Jews, Nazi authorities did not use extermination camps and gas...

 

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel
Association for Civil Rights in Israel
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel was created as an independent non-partisan organization to protect human rights and civil rights in Israel and the territories under its control....

reported a "dramatic increase" in racism against Arab citizens, including a 26 percent rise in anti-Arab incidents. ACRI president Sami Michael
Sami Michael
Sami Michael is an Israeli author. Since 2001, Michael has been the President of The Association for Civil Rights in Israel .Michael was among the first in Israel to call for the creation of an independent Palestinian state to exist alongside Israel. In his novels Michael writes about the...

 said that "Israeli society is reaching new heights of racism that damages freedom of expression and privacy".

A 2008 poll on intercommunal relations by Harvard Kennedy School
John F. Kennedy School of Government
The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University is a public policy and public administration school, and one of Harvard's graduate and professional schools...

 found that Arabs and Jews in Israel underestimated the extent to which their communities "liked" one another. 68% of the Jews supported teaching Arabic in Jewish schools.

A 2008 poll by the Center Against Racism found that 75% of Israeli Jews would not live in a building with Arabs; over 60% would not invite Arabs to their homes; 40% believed that Arabs should be stripped of the right to vote
Suffrage
Suffrage, political franchise, or simply the franchise, distinct from mere voting rights, is the civil right to vote gained through the democratic process...

; over 50% agreed that the State should encourage emigration
Emigration
Emigration is the act of leaving one's country or region to settle in another. It is the same as immigration but from the perspective of the country of origin. Human movement before the establishment of political boundaries or within one state is termed migration. There are many reasons why people...

 of Arab citizens to other countries; 59% considered Arab culture primitive. Asked "What do you feel when you hear people speaking Arabic?" 31% said hate and 50% said fear. Only 19% reported positive or neutral feelings.

Surveys in 2009 found a radicalization in the positions of Israeli Arabs towards the State of Israel, with 41% of Israeli Arabs recognizing Israel's right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state (down from 65.6% in 2003), and 53.7% believing Israel has a right to exist as an independent country (down from 81.1% in 2003). Polls also showed that 40% of Arab citizens engaged in Holocaust denial
Holocaust denial
Holocaust denial is the act of denying the genocide of Jews in World War II, usually referred to as the Holocaust. The key claims of Holocaust denial are: the German Nazi government had no official policy or intention of exterminating Jews, Nazi authorities did not use extermination camps and gas...

.

A 2010 poll of Israeli high school students found that 49.5% did not think Israeli Arabs were entitled to the same rights as Jews in Israel, and 56% thought Arabs should not be elected to the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

. The figures rose among religious students.

A 2010 Arab Jewish Relations Survey, compiled by Prof. Sami Smoocha in collaboration with the Jewish-Arab Center at the University of Haifa shows that 71% Arab citizens of Israel said they blamed Jews for the hardships suffered by Palestinians during and after the “Nakba” in 1948. 37.8% denied the Holocaust. The percentage supporting the use of violence to advance Arab causes climbed from 6% in 1995 to 11.5% in 2010. 66.4 percent say they reject Israel as a Jewish and Zionist state, while 29.5 percent opposed its existence under any terms. 62.5 percent saw the Jews as "foreign settlers who do not fit into the region and will eventually leave, when the land will return to the Palestinians."

Involvement in terrorist attacks


Because Israeli Arabs have Israeli citizenship, they are often recruited as operatives for organisations that attack civilians. From 2001–2004, 102 Arab-Israeli organisations were involved in the killing of hundreds of Israelis. In 2001, for example, passengers disembarking from a train in Nahariya
Nahariya
Nahariya is the northernmost coastal city in Israel, with an estimated population of 51,200.-History:Nahariya was founded by German Jewish immigrants from the Fifth Aliyah in the 1930s...

 were attacked by an Israeli Arab who killed 3 and wounded 90. In March 2007, two Israeli Arabs were convicted of manslaughter for smuggling a suicide bomber into Israel.

From 2000 to 2004, some 150 Arabs from East Jerusalem were arrested for helping to carry out attacks in which hundreds of Israelis were killed and over a thousand were injured.

Ties with Hezbollah


Hezbollah has taken advantage of family and criminal ties with Israeli-Arabs who can easily cross the border into Lebanon, meet with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 and the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

, transfer weapons, drugs and money to Israel, gather intelligence and recruit operatives. This phenomenon is particularly widespread in the village of Ghajar
Ghajar
Ghajar is an Alawite village on the Hasbani River on the border between Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied portion of the Golan Heights. It has a population of 2,000.-Early history:...

. Arab citizens of Israel have been convicted of espionage for Hezbollah. Arab-Israeli terror cells have been established, such as a cell in Reineh
Reineh
Reineh, or Reine is an Israeli Arab village in the Galilee, located between Nazareth and Qana of Galilee. The village attained Local council status in 1968...

 whose members were arrested in February 2004.

Violence against Arab citizens in Israel


In the 1956 Kafr Qasim massacre
Kafr Qasim massacre
The Kafr Qasim massacre took place in the Israeli Arab village of Kafr Qasim situated on the Green Line, at that time, the de facto border between Israel and the West Bank on October 29, 1956. It was carried out by the Israel Border Police and resulted in 48 Arab civilians dead, including 6 women...

, 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
Land Day
Land Day , March 30, is an annual day of commemoration for Palestinians of the events of that date in 1976. In response to the Israeli government's announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of dunams of land for "security and settlement purposes", a general strike and marches were organized...

 demonstrations, which left 6 dead, and the October 2000 events
October 2000 events
The October 2000 events were a series of protests in Arab villages in northern Israel in October 2000 that turned violent, escalating into clashes between Israeli Arabs and the Israel Police and ending in the deaths of demonstrators.The Or Commission was established to investigate the police...

 in which 12 Israeli Arabs and one Palestinian from Gaza were killed.

In 2005 an AWOL IDF
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 soldier, Eden Natan-Zada
Eden Natan-Zada
Eden Natan-Zada was an Israeli terrorist who was born to a Jewish family that immigrated to Israel from Iran. He was an AWOL Israeli soldier who opened fire in a bus in Shefa-Amr in northern Israel on 4 August 2005, killing four Arab citizens of Israel and wounding twelve others. He was restrained,...

 opened fire in a bus in Shfar'am in northern Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, murdering four Arabs and wounding twenty-two others. No group had taken credit for the terror attack and an official in the settler movement denounced it.

Arab victims of terrorism


Arab citizens have also been victims of Palestinian, Arab, or Islamist attacks on Israel and Israelis. For example, on 12 September 1956, three Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

 guards were killed in an attack on Ein Ofarim, in the Arabah
Arabah
The Arabah , also known as Aravah, is a section of the Great Rift Valley running in a north-south orientation between the southern end of the Sea of Galilee down to the Dead Sea and continuing further south where it ends at the Gulf of Aqaba. It includes most of the border between Israel to the...

 region. Two Arab citizens were killed in the Ma'alot massacre
Ma'alot massacre
The Ma'alot massacre was a terrorist attack which included a two-day hostage-taking of 115 people which ended in the deaths of over 25 hostages. It began when three armed Palestinian terrorists of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine entered Israel from Lebanon...

 carried out by the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine is a Palestinian Marxist-Leninist, secular political and military organization. It is also frequently referred to as the Democratic Front, or al-Jabha al-Dimuqratiyah...

 on 15 May 1974. In March 2002, a resident of the Arab town of Tur'an
Tur'an
Tur'an is an Israeli-Arab local council in the North District of Israel. It is located on Mount Tur'an near the main road from Haifa to Tiberias, and about north of Nazareth...

 was killed in an attack on a Haifa restaurant Two months later, a woman from Jaffa
Jaffa
Jaffa is an ancient port city believed to be one of the oldest in the world. Jaffa was incorporated with Tel Aviv creating the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. Jaffa is famous for its association with the biblical story of the prophet Jonah.-Etymology:...

 was killed in a Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 suicide bombing
Suicide attack
A suicide attack is a type of attack in which the attacker expects or intends to die in the process.- Historical :...

 in Rishon LeZion On 18 June 2002: A woman from the Arab border town of Barta'a
Barta'a
Barta'a is a town that straddles both sides of the Green Line and the Wadi Ara region.Western Barta'a is in the Haifa District of Israel, and forms part of the Basma local council...

 was one of 19 killed by Hamas in the Pat Junction Bus Bombing in Jerusalem In August 2002, a man from the Arab town of Mghar and woman from the Druze village of Sajur
Sajur
Sajur is a Druze town in the Galilee region of northern Israel, with an area of 3,000 dunams . It achieved recognition as an independent local council in 1992...

 were killed in a suicide bombing at Meron junction On 21 October 2002, an Isfiya
Carmel City
Carmel City was a short-lived city in the Haifa District of Israel, named after its location on Mount Carmel. In 2003, the two Druze towns Daliyat al-Karmel and Isfiya were merged to become one city, initially known as Daliyat al-Karmel-Isfiya, and renamed to Carmel City in 2005.The merger was...

 man and a Tayibe
Tayibe
Tayibe is an Israeli Arab city in central Israel, 12 kilometers east of Kfar Saba. In 2007, it had a population of 36,800. Tayibe is part of the Triangle.-History:...

 woman were among 14 killed by Islamic Jihad
Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine
The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine known in the West as simply Palestinian Islamic Jihad , is a small Palestinian militant organization. The group has been labelled as a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia and Israel...

 in the Egged bus 841 massacre. On 5 March 2003, a 13-year-old girl from the Druze town of Daliyat al-Karmel
Daliyat al-Karmel
Daliyat al-Karmel is a Druze local council in the North District of Israel, located around 20 km southeast of Haifa.-History:The town was given local council status in 1951. However, in 2003 it was merged with nearby Isfiya to create Carmel City...

 was one of 17 killed in the Haifa bus 37 suicide bombing. In May 2003: A Jisr az-Zarqa
Jisr az-Zarqa
Jisr az-Zarqa is an Israeli Arab local council on Israel's northern Mediterranean coastal plain. Located just north of Caesarea within the Haifa District, it achieved local council status in 1963. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics the town had a population of 11,100 residents at the...

 man, was killed in an Afula
Afula
Afula is a city in the North District of Israel, often known as the "Capital of the Valley", referring to the Jezreel Valley. The city had a population of 40,500 at the end of 2009.-History:...

 mall suicide bombing. On 19 March 2004, Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

 al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades
Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades
The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades is a coalition of Palestinian nationalist militias in the West Bank. The group's name refers to the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem...

 gunmen killed George Khoury
George Khoury
George Elias Khoury was a Palestinian Christian murdered by a Palestinian terrorist while jogging in the neighborhood of French Hill in Jerusalem...

, a Hebrew University
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ; ; abbreviated HUJI) is Israel's second-oldest university, after the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. The Hebrew University has three campuses in Jerusalem and one in Rehovot. The world's largest Jewish studies library is located on its Edmond J...

 student. On 12 December 2004, five Arab IDF soldiers were killed in an explosion and shooting at the border with Egypt for which the Fatah Hawks
Fatah Hawks
The Fatah Hawks is the name of two Palestinian militant groups. One is a popular movement of Palestinian youth in the West Bank and Gaza in the 1980s. The other is an offshoot of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades which has links to the dominant Fatah movement...

 claimed responsibility. On 4 October 2003, four Arab citizens of Israel were among the 21 killed by Hanadi Jaradat
Hanadi Jaradat
Hanadi Tayseer Abdul Malek Jaradat , a Palestinian suicide bomber from Jenin, blew herself up on Saturday, October 4, 2003 in an attack on Maxim's restaurant in the northern Israeli city of Haifa. Twenty-one people were killed and 51 injured. Among the dead were four Israeli children and three...

 in the Maxim restaurant suicide bombing
Maxim restaurant suicide bombing
The Maxim restaurant suicide bombing was a suicide bombing which occurred on October 4, 2003 in the beachfront "Maxim" restaurant in Haifa, Israel. 21 people were killed in the attack and 51 were injured...

. In July 2006, 19 Arab citizens were killed due to Hezbollah rocket fire in the course of the 2006 Lebanon War.

On 22 August 2006, 11 Arab tourists from Israel were killed when their bus overturned in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

. Israel sent Magen David Adom
Magen David Adom
The Magen David Adom is Israel's national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service. The name means "Red Star of David"...

, 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.

Culture


Many Arab citizens of Israel share in the culture of the Palestinian people
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 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, and costume
Palestinian costumes
Palestinian costumes are the traditional clothing worn by Palestinians. Foreign travelers to Palestine in the 19th and early 20th centuries often commented on the rich variety of the costumes worn, particularly by the fellaheen or village women...

. The Palestinian folk dance, known as the dabke
Dabke
Dabke is an Arab folk dance. It is popular in several Arab countries such as Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria,and Iraq. A line dance, it is widely performed at weddings and joyous occasions...

, continues to be taught to youth in cultural groups, and is often danced at weddings and other parties.

Language


Linguistically speaking, the majority of Arabic citizens of Israel are fluently bilingual, speaking both a Palestinian Arabic
Palestinian Arabic
Palestinian Arabic is a Levantine Arabic dialect subgroup spoken by Palestinians and the majority of Arab-Israelis. Rural varieties of this dialect exhibit several distinctive features; particularly the pronunciation of qaf as kaf, which distinguish them from other Arabic varieties...

 dialect and Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

; some are also 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). The resulting dialect is usually referred to as 'Israeli Arabic'.

Such borrowings are often "Arabized" to reflect not only Arabic phonology
Arabic phonology
While many languages have numerous dialects that differ in pronunciation, the Arabic language is more properly described as a continuum of varieties. This article deals primarily with Modern Standard Arabic, which is the standard variety shared by educated speakers throughout Arabic-speaking regions...

 but the phonology of Hebrew as spoken by Arabs. For example, the second consonant of מעונות would be pronounced as a voiced pharyngeal fricative
Voiced pharyngeal fricative
The voiced pharyngeal approximant or fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents it is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is ?\....

 rather than the glottal stop
Glottal stop
The glottal stop, or more fully, the voiceless glottal plosive, is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. In English, the feature is represented, for example, by the hyphen in uh-oh! and by the apostrophe or [[ʻokina]] in Hawaii among those using a preservative pronunciation of...

 traditionally used by the vast majority of Israeli Jews.

There are different local colloquial dialects among Arabs in different regions and localities. For example, the Little Triangle
Triangle (Israel)
The Triangle , formerly referred to as the Little Triangle, is a concentration of Israeli Arab towns and villages adjacent to the Green Line, located in the eastern Sharon plain among the Samarian foothills; this area is located within the easternmost boundaries of both the Center District and...

 residents of Umm al-Fahm
Umm al-Fahm
Umm al-Fahm is a city in the Haifa District of Israel with a population of 43,300, nearly all of whom are Arab citizens of Israel. The city is situated on the Umm al-Fahm mountain ridge, the highest point of which is Mt. Iskander , overlooking Wadi Ara...

 are known for pronouncing the kaph
Kaph
Kaph is the eleventh letter of many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew Kaf , Arabic alphabet , Persian alphabet...

 sound with a "ch" (as-in-cheese) rather than "k" (as-in-kite). 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".

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.

Music and Art


The Palestinian art
Palestinian art
Palestinian art is a term used to refer to paintings, posters, installation art and other visual media produced by Palestinian artists.While the term has also been used to refer to ancient art produced in the geographical region of Palestine, in its modern usage it generally refers to work of...

 scene in general has been supported by the contributions of Arab citizens of Israel. In addition to the contribution of artists such as singer Amal Murkus
Amal Murkus
Amal Murkus is a Palestinian Christian singer living in Israel. Her post-modern music style has a variety of Mediterranean influences. Her first album, Amal, was released in 1998, and her second, Shauq, in 2004...

 (from Kafr Yasif
Kafr Yasif
Kafr Yasif is a Arab town in the North District of Israel. It is located northeast of the city of Acre and adjacent to Abu Sinan. The population of Kafr Yasif is largely Christian with a significant Muslim minority , and a small Druze community....

) to evolving traditional Palestinian
Palestinian music
The music of Palestine is one of many regional sub-genres of Arabic music. While it shares much in common with Arabic music, both structurally and instrumentally, there are musical forms and subject matter that are distinctively Palestinian.-Pre-1948:...

 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
DAM (band)
DAM is a Palestinian hip-hop group. Based in Lod, Israel, DAM was founded in 1999 by brothers Tamar and Suhell Nafar and their friend Mahmoud Jreri, and their songs are largely about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and poverty...

, from Lod, has spurred the emergence of other hip hop groups from Akka, to Bethlehem, to Ramallah, to Gaza City.

Cinema and Theater


Arab citizens of Israel have made significant contributions in both Hebrew and Arabic cinema and theater. Mohammad Bakri
Mohammad Bakri
Mohammad Bakri is an Israeli Arab actor and director, known throughout Israel and the Arab world.-Early life:...

, and Juliano Mer-Khamis
Juliano Mer-Khamis
Juliano Mer-Khamis was an Israeli actor, director, filmmaker and political activist of Jewish and Christian Arab parentage. On 4 April 2011, he was assassinated by a masked gunman in the Palestinian city of Jenin, where he established the Freedom Theatre....

 have starred in Israeli film and television. Directors such as Mohammad Bakri, Elia Suleiman
Elia Suleiman
Elia Suleiman , is a Palestinian film director and actor. He is best known for the 2002 film Divine Intervention , a modern tragic comedy on living under occupation in Palestine which won the Jury Prize at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival...

, Hany Abu-Assad
Hany Abu-Assad
Hany Abu-Assad is a Dutch-Palestinian film director. His film Paradise Now, about two Palestinian men preparing for a suicide attack in Israel, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2006.-Early life:...

, and Michel Khleifi
Michel Khleifi
Michel Khleifi is a Palestinian film writer, director and producer. He emigrated from Israel in 1970 and now resides in Belgium. There, he studied television and theatre directing at the Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle . After graduating from INSAS, he worked in Belgium...

 have put Arab citizens of Israel on the cinematic map.

Literature


Acclaimed Israeli-Arab authors include Emil Habibi, Anton Shammas
Anton Shammas
-Biography:Anton Shammas was one of six children born to Hanna Shammas, a Palestinian Christian barber and shoemaker,and a Lebanese mother who moved to Fassuta in 1936 to teach French at the local girls' school...

, and Sayed Kashua
Sayed Kashua
Sayed Kashua is an Israeli Arab author and journalist born in Tira, Israel, known for his books and humoristic columns in Hebrew.-Biography:...

.

See also


  • Sumud
    Sumud
    Sumud meaning "steadfastness" or "steadfast perseverance" is an ideological theme and political strategy that first emerged among the Palestinian people through the experience of the dialectic of oppression and resistance in the wake of the Six-day war...

  • Israelis
  • Israeli Jews
  • Racism and ethnic discrimination in Israel


Further reading

  • Morris, Benny, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War, (2009) Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300151121
  • Orgad, Liav(PhD), IDC, Hertzlia, "Internationalizing the issue of Israeli Arabs", Maariv, 19 March 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:
  • The Israeli Palestinians: an Arab minority in the Jewish state / Alexander Bligh 2003. (book)
  • Tall shadows: interviews with Israeli Arabs / Smadar Bakovic 2006 English Book 313 p. Lanham, MD: Hamilton Books, ; ISBN 0-7618-3289-0
  • Israel's Arab Citizens / Laurence Louër; John King 2006 London: C. Hurst & Co. Ltd. ISBN 1-85065-798-X
  • 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
  • Pappe, Ilan, The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel, (2011) Yale University Press
  • Peleg, Ilan, and Dov Waxman, Israel's Palestinians: The Conflict Within, (2011) Cambridge University Press
  • Reiter, Yitzhak, National Minority, Regional Majority: Palestinian Arabs Versus Jews in Israel (Syracuse Studies on Peace and Conflict Resolution), (2009) Syracuse Univ Press (Sd). ISBN 9780815632306

External links