Racism and refusal to evacuate alongside support for a democratic system of government – these are the jumbled sentiment of Israel's high school students, according to a recent poll.
They support a democratic form of government, but more than half of them believe that Arabs should not be allowed to vote in Knesset elections. One out of every six students would not want to study in the same class with an Ethiopian or an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, and 21% of them think that "Death to Arabs" is a legitimate expression.
Nearly every second student would refuse orders to evacuate settlements. They mostly prefer Shimon Peres as prime minister over Ehud Barak and Avigdor Lieberman.
The students were asked questions regarding their viewpoints on the IDF and insubordination. Some 91% of secular high school students said they want to enlist in the IDF, versus 77% of religious students. Eighty-one percent of the religious students said they would refuse orders to evacuate outposts and settlements in the West Bank, versus 36% of secular students. Overall, 43% of the students polled said they would refuse orders.
The teens were asked about the rights of Arab Israelis. Here, too, there was a gap in the opinions of religious and secular students. While 82% of religious students responded that they don't believe Arabs should be granted equal rights as Jews, 36% percent of seculars responded that they do not believe in equal rights for Arabs and Jews. Overall, 46% students believe there should not be equality between Jewish and Arab citizens of the State of Israel.
The poll showed that many students believe the phrase "Death to Arabs" is racist, and, therefore, not legitimate. Forty-five percent of religious students and 16% of secular students, however, believe it is a legitimate statement.
Some 82% of the religious students believe Arab Israelis should not be allowed to vote in Knesset elections, versus 47% of seculars. Overall, 56% of the high school students polled believe Arabs should not be allowed to vote.
Students were asked if they would be willing to have an Arab friend who is the same sex and age as they are. Out of the religious students polled, 81% said they would not be willing, versus 23% of secular students who would not want to have an Arab friend. Overall, 32% of students said they would not want to have an Arab friend.
'Don't want immigrants in our class'
The poll showed that secular high school students tend to be more willing to accept immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union. When asked if they would want Ethiopian students to study in the same class as them, 16% of secular students and 23% of religious students answered in the negative.
When asked about their willingness to study with a classmate from the former Soviet Union, 12% of secular students answered that they would not, versus 32% of religious students.
Regarding their opinions on the character of Israel's government, the students were asked which type of government they would prefer. Eighty percent chose democracy; 16% chose dictatorship; and 4% responded that they did not know.
Seventy-five percent of Jewish students, versus 64% of Arab students think Israel is considered a democratic country. Some 20% of Arab students responded that they believe it is legitimate to forcefully oppose government policies to which they are opposed – about two times the percentage of Jewish students who believe so.
In the political sphere, the teenagers (38%) responded that there preferred prime minister is Benjamin Netanyahu. Next in line were Tzipi Livni with 24%, Shimon Peres – 19%, Avigdor Lieberman – 13%, and Ehud Barak – 6%.
The survey was conducted by the Maagar Mochot research institute on 536 youth between the ages of 15 and 18 from the Jewish and Arab sectors on the topic of today's youth and the face of tomorrow's Israel.