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An Israel Police patrol car burns in Lod

An Israel Police patrol car burns in Lod, where synagogues and cars were torched amid riots by the city's Arab residents, May 12, 2021. 

Three quarters of Arab Israelis believe Jews have no right to sovereignty in the country, according to a recent study by Israeli NGO Habithonistim–Protectors of Israel.

When asked where their loyalties would lie in case of an existential battle between Israel and Arab states, 26% of Arab Israelis said they would support the Jewish state, 23% said they would back Israel’s enemies and 51% said they would remain neutral.

The survey, which focused on Israeli’s sense of security and governance, had a sample size of 1,068, Jewish and Arab Israelis aged 18 and over. Habithonistim is an Israeli NGO comprising Israeli defense officials advocating for Israel’s future security needs.

The study also found that both Israel’s Arab and Jewish citizens have little faith in the country’s law enforcement agencies; 66% of all Israelis said they distrust the Israel Police, and within the Arab sector the figure jumped to 73%.

Seventy-one percent of Arab Israelis said they have little or no sense of personal safety, while 44% of Jewish Israelis said the same.

Sixty-nine percent of Jewish Israelis are concerned about what the future holds for the Jewish state, and 67% believe stricter measures should be employed to prevent riots and friction between Jews and Arabs.

As for Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s plan to form a national guard to boost public safety, the poll found that 66% of the public support the move, including 44% of Arab Israelis, 37% of whom would be willing to join its ranks in case of riots, a statement echoed by 54% of Jewish Israelis.

Asked about the 2021 riots in Israel’s mixed cities, 53% of Arab Israelis and 88% of Jewish Israelis said the root cause was national and/or religious. Some 22% of Arab Israelis said they believe the riots were fueled by socio-economic reasons.

As for how to quell such riots in the future, Jewish Israelis listed crowd-control measures (72%), revoking civil rights and state benefits (70%) and imposing fines and other punitive measures (67%).

Only 28% of Arab Israelis named fines and punitive measures as the correct course of action, while 20% said they believed revoking civil rights and state benefits would be the most effective measure.

Regarding media coverage of the violence last year in the mixed cities and in Judea and Samaria, 70% of Jewish respondents said there was biased coverage in favor of the Arab public. Thirty-three percent of the Arab public agreed with this statement.

“We are now on the verge of a troubling reality,” said Habithonistim director IDF Brig. Gen. (res.) Amir Avivi. “The loss of governance in the Negev, a political rift among the public, a sense of personal insecurity, the impending nuclear deal [between Iran and western powers] and the wave of terrorism instigated by Hamas in Judea and Samaria—these are all challenges that require us, as defense officials, to mobilize….”

This is an edited version of an article that first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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