Are Israelis racist? Figures presented by the Center for Combating Racism paint a grim picture when it comes to Jewish Israelis' attitudes to their fellow Arab citizens.
A poll by the group showed most Israelis would not be willing to accept an Arab neighbor, half of the public would not be willing to receive an Arab visitor in their home, and 40 percent believe that the State should encourage Arabs to emigrate from the country.
The figures come from the poll comprising 500 people, selected from the adult population by the Geocartographia Institute.
"The time has arrived for the Jewish population, who experienced what racism is on its flesh, to wake up and change its way," said group Director Bakher ouda.
The Center for Combating Racism was founded in 2003 by a group of Arab academics who declared their intention to end the problem of racism and discrimination.
However, at a press conference in Nazareth Wednesday, the group said that the disturbing poll shows that Israelis have not learned a thing:
"According to the polls that undertaken in previous years by the Haifa University and other academic bodies, it has become clear that there is a rise in racist incidents," the organization charged.
The poll presented Wednesday showed that 68 percent of respondents said they do not wish to live next to an Arab neighbor, compared with 26 percent who said they would agree.
Third of respondents: Arab culture inferior
Responding to a question about Arab friends, 46 percent said they would not be willing to have Arab friends who would visit them at their home.
Some 63 percent of the Jewish public sees Arab civilians as a security and demographic threat, and 34 percent of the Jewish public sees Arab culture as inferior compared to Israeli culture. Half of the population, according to the poll, is anxious and uncomfortable when hearing Arabic on the street.
On another front, 18 percent of respondents said they feel intense hatred for Arab citizens of the country.
"It is time to warn and change, the picture that emerges from the poll is a grim one, and we recommend that the Education Ministry prepare educational programs on the topic of racism, and that the attorney general changes his apologetic policy on everything connected with racism," Ouda said in response to the poll.
"I hope that Israeli society and those who lead it realize that the time has come to make changes," he concluded.