JPPI Israeli Society Index

Arab Israelis: Six Months into the Gaza War

After six months of war, only 4% of Arab Israelis support continued Hamas rule in Gaza. 30% of Arab Israelis prefer international Arab state control in Gaza the day after the war. 24% prefer Palestinian Authority rule.

Read the survey with a complete set of graphs here

Other survey findings:

– Half of Arab Israelis are convinced it would be preferable for their children and grandchildren to live outside Israel.

– 60% of Arab Israelis do not support Jewish worship on the Temple Mount, and 55% believe that Jews should be prohibited from visiting the Temple Mount.

– 40% oppose disciplinary action against students expressing support for Hamas on social media.

Prof. Yedidia Stern, President of the Jewish People Policy Institute: “These findings place responsibility on the Jewish majority to act to strengthen coexistence between the two populations in Israeli society.”

April 17, 2024, Jerusalem, Israel – Six months after the October 7 attack, a survey conducted by the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) has revealed that the majority of Arab citizens of Israel are distancing themselves from Hamas and leaning toward support for international control of Gaza “the day after” the war, led by Arab countries. Significantly, the survey notes support among Arab Israelis for the emigration of their next generation. The research indicates significant differences in these and other positions between Christians and Muslims.

According to JPPI President, Prof. Yedidia Stern, “The survey reveals that almost all Israeli Arab citizens do not support Hamas, and their emotional response to the October 7 Hamas massacre ranges from concern to fear and sadness. While they understand the situation much better than some progressive young people in Western countries, the survey indicates Arabs do not feel “at home” in Israel, with half expressing a preference that their future generations live abroad. The survey also shows how during the war, one-third of Arab Israelis are more careful than usual not to stand out in the wider Israeli context. These findings place responsibility on the Jewish majority to act to strengthen coexistence between the two populations of Israeli citizens.”

Regarding the military action by Israel in the Gaza Strip, 32% of Arab respondents expressed “sorrow.”

Throughout the war, Arab confidence in Israel’s victory has been significantly lower than that of Jewish Israelis. According to the survey, only a third of Arab Israelis are, as of April, confident Israel will be victorious in the conflict, with higher confidence levels among Druze and Christian respondents.

Furthermore, over a third of Arab Israelis (36%) have slightly or significantly changed their behavior and take precautions not to stand out when in the wider Israeli society.

Additionally, the research suggests that Arab Israelis tend to blame both Hamas and Israel for the continued rounds of fighting in Gaza since Israel’s 2005 disengagement from the territory. Most Christians and Druze blame Hamas primarily, but among the Muslim majority, 43% blame both sides equally, a quarter (24%) place the blame on Israel, and fewer than a tenth (9%) on Hamas.

The survey noted that Arab Israeli trust in the government is relatively low with almost half (43%) expressing a significant lack of trust in the system, and fewer than a quarter have high confidence in public officials.

Trust in Prime Minister Netanyahu was even lower. A significant majority of 79% of Arab Israelis have very or somewhat low confidence in him, with only 15% expressing somewhat or very high confidence.

Against the backdrop of the war, four out of ten Israeli Arabs predict that Jewish-Arab relations will deteriorate in the future, with only 10% seeing prospects for improving relations. The other half believes that the war will end without having a significant impact on the way Jewish and Arab Israelis view each other.

Additionally, over 50% of Arab Israelis would prefer their children and grandchildren to live outside Israel. A quarter of Arab Israelis would prefer their next generation to move to Europe or the United States, while a tenth would prefer their children to reside in an Arab or Palestinian state.

However, it should be noted that among older respondents (over 55), a significant majority of about 75% have a clear preference that their children and grandchildren reside in Israel, indicating generational differences in life perceptions and expectations for the future.

The survey also found that the majority of Arab Israelis believe that Israel wants to “remove Muslims from the Temple Mount.” More than half (60%) deny the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount: 50% say there was no Jewish Temple there, and only 11% say there was (the rest “do not know”).

Accordingly, 55% of Arab Israelis (63% of Muslims) believe that Israel should prohibit Jews from ascending the Temple Mount for any reason, and only 10% believe that Jews should be allowed to ascend the mountain for visits or prayer. The same percentage – 55% (64% of Muslims) – believe that Israel’s goal is to “keep Muslims away from the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” while only a fifth (21%) believe that Israel wants to allow full religious freedom for Muslims on the Temple Mount.

Another interesting finding relates to Arab Israeli attitudes toward the government and academia’s handling of students expressing support for Hamas on social media networks. According to the survey, a significant majority of Arab Israelis (40%) believe that no action should be taken against students expressing controversial views like support for Hamas, beyond the request to delete the posts. However, a third (33%) believe that Jewish students who advocate for the emigration of Arabs from Israel should be excluded from studies. A slightly lower percentage believe that Jewish students expressing support for killing innocent people in Gaza should be excluded from studies, and a quarter believe that students expressing support for Hamas or Hamas attacks on Israel should be excluded.

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Technical information:

The JPPI survey was conducted between March 25 and April 4, 2024, with a sample of 613 respondents. The sampling was conducted according to gender, age, region, and religion. The sampling error is 3.9% + Data collection was done using a combination of digital panels and telephone calls. The JPPI report was written by Shmuel Rosner, who edits the monthly JPPI Israeli Society Index.