Torn asunder: 22.5 percent of Jews think leftists are dangerous
A new study presents a grim reality regarding hatred between different groups of Israeli society; more than half of the citizens of Israel believe Israeli Arabs are dangerous, frightening and unreliable; the findings also show that 60% think the Haredim are exploiting the country.
It appears the salient rift in Israeli society lies between right-wingers and left-wingers, according to a new survey conducted among 1,189 Israelis, whose results will be fully revealed on Monday during the inauguration ceremony of a new public movement called Inward.
Among the members of the movement are former Chiefs of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and Benny Gantz, former Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron, social coordinator of Lod Municipality Faten al-Zinati, founder of the Krembo Wings youth movement Adi Altschuler, educator Hilly Tropper and others.
The survey examined, among other things, how Israelis define themselves. The results show that 45% of Israelis define themselves as secular, 44% are Ashkenazi, 34% are right wing and 24% are Sephardic. 16% defined themselves as religious, 12% said they were leftists, 7% were ultra-Orthodox, and 5% were settlers.
On the question of nationality, 46% of the Jews defined themselves first and foremost as Jews, compared with 41% who defined themselves as Israelis. Within the Arab population, 60% chose to define themselves first as Arabs, while only 8% defined themselves as Israelis.
The survey then examined what the different groups thought of one another. The findings were bleak, pointing to a deep rift between the different sectors of Israeli society. Among other things, it was found that 60% of the Jews think the Haredim are exploiting the country, and that 22.5% of the Jews think the leftists are dangerous.
In addition, 52% of Israelis defined the Arabs as dangerous, 53% defined them as frightening and 51% defined them as unreliable. Among the Arabs, 62% of the respondents defined the Arab sector as credible. The survey also found that 30% of Arabs perceive the Ashkenazim as civilized, 53% of the Arabs believe that the settlers are dangerous, and 35% of the Arabs believe that Ethiopian immigrants are primitive.
Only 19% of the Israeli public perceived seculars as contributing to the state, whereas 30% believed the settlers are more contributive. In addition, 49% of Israelis defined the residents of Tel Aviv as condescending.
The study revealed that in the past year, the most widespread manifestations of racism on the Internet have been directed at Arabs followed by women, ultra-Orthodox and left-wingers.
"Though the results of the study may not be surprising, they emphasize the depth of alienation, division and hatred that have become the outstanding feature of Israeli society," the movements said Sunday night. "The study highlights the underlining fact that this hatred is the result of a lack of familiarity between the various parts of Israeli society and that Israelis are motivated by stigmas and the demonization of the other."
(Translated and edited by N. Elias)