Yulia Karra
December 7, 2023

A recently-published survey shows that 47 percent of Israeli Arabs believe that Israel’s response to the Hamas attack on October 7 was justified.

The survey, conducted by the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University (TAU) in the wake of the war, also found that 57% of Israeli Arabs believe that Hamas intentionally targeted civilians, including women and children, during the onslaught that left more than 1,200 people dead.

At least 44%, however, say the response wasn’t justified, and 32% believe Hamas didn’t target civilians intentionally. At least 70% also believe that solidarity between Arabs and Jews in Israel has taken a hit during the war.

In addition, half of the 502 respondents said Israel’s response to the attack contributed to the solution of the Palestinian issue in a negative way. At least 21% said the response contributed to the conflict’s solution in a positive way, while 19% said it had no impact.

Eighty-five percent of the respondents also approve of the Arab sector’s initiatives to help the residents of the Gaza border region who have been affected by the tragic events.

At least 54% approve of Arab Israelis taking part in the efforts to explain Israel’s position in the war to the world.

The poll also found that 66% of the respondents are in favor of an Arab party joining the government coalition following the next election cycle.

The survey included Israeli Arab citizens aged 18 or over, who constitute a representative sample of the adult Arab population. It was initiated by the Konrad Adenauer Program for Jewish-Arab Cooperation, part of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at TAU.

Dr. Arik Rudnitzky. Photo courtesy of The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Israel Office
Dr. Arik Rudnitzky. Photo courtesy of The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Israel Office

The head of the program, Arik Rudnitzky, who has spent decades researching Arab-Israeli relations, said the study proves that Arab Israelis identify more with Israel than in the past.

“The war between Israel and Hamas has generated an unprecedented change in the positions of Israel’s Arab citizens. It is manifested in the fact that for the first time, in contrast to all previous surveys, civic Israeli identity plays as strong a role [for Israeli Arabs] as national Arab identity,” he said.

“It is also worth noting that sympathy with the Israeli narrative with regard to the October 7 events is higher among the younger generation of Arab Israelis. Young people are more exposed not only to the Israeli and global media, but also to social media, where the Israeli narrative is at a disadvantage.”

Rudnitzky added that many Israeli Arab fear being harassed over the October 7 events and the subsequent war.

“We should bear this in mind following the conclusion of the war. The country’s Arab citizens are signaling to the Jewish population and the government that they are an integral part of the State of Israel.”

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