Majority of Israeli Jews wouldn't give Palestinians vote if West Bank annexed

A worrying percentage of Israeli Jews would see separate and poorer treatment for Arabs

By Natasha Lennard

Published October 23, 2012 4:30PM (EDT)

 Palestinians in Gaza walk by damage from an Israeli shelling (Shutterstock)
Palestinians in Gaza walk by damage from an Israeli shelling (Shutterstock)

Israeli newspaper Haaretz Tuesday published the troubling findings of a new survey looking at the views of Israeli Jews towards Arab citizens of the country when it came to hypothetical annexing of the West Bank. The study, headed by Tel Aviv University Professor Camil Fuchs, found that Jewish Israeli citizens would overwhelmingly supported an apartheid regime were the territories in Judea and Samaria annexed, meaning that they would to see Israeli Arabs get different and worse treatment systematically in civil society than Israeli Jews. Importantly, most Israeli Jews responded that they would not want to see the annexing, but were it to take place, they viewed certain segregation favorably. Haaretz reported on the findings:

The majority of the Jewish public, 59 percent, wants preference for Jews over Arabs in admission to jobs in government ministries. Almost half the Jews, 49 percent, want the state to treat Jewish citizens better than Arab ones; 42 percent don't want to live in the same building with Arabs and 42 percent don't want their children in the same class with Arab children. A third of the Jewish public wants a law barring Israeli Arabs from voting for the Knesset and a large majority of 69 percent objects to giving 2.5 million Palestinians the right to vote if Israel annexes the West Bank.

A sweeping 74 percent majority is in favor of separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. A quarter - 24 percent - believe separate roads are "a good situation" and 50 percent believe they are "a necessary situation."

Almost half - 47 percent - want part of Israel's Arab population to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority and 36 percent support transferring some of the Arab towns from Israel to the PA, in exchange for keeping some of the West Bank settlements.

The survey interviewed 503 Israelis from a spread of Jewish communities including secular, religious, ultra-Orthodox and former Soviet immigrants. Of these groups, the ultra-Orthodox held "the most extreme positions against the Palestinians," with 83 percent supporting segregated roads were the West Bank annexed. Haaretz notes that most of the Jewish Israelis interviewed (nearly 60 percent) already believe that a system of apartheid is in place in Israel. "Only 31 percent think such a system is not in force," the study found.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post, based on a Ha'aretz report that has since been revised and corrected, did not state that the views expressed by respondents to the survey related to a hypothetical situation in which the West Bank would be annexed, not the current situation.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Apartheid Haaretz Israel Israel-palestine Middle East Palestine