Nearly Half of Israeli Jews want to Expel Palestinian-Israelis from Country

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Nearly half of the over 6 million Israeli Jews want to expel from the country the 1.6 million citizens of Palestinian heritage, most of them Muslims, according to a just-released Pew Forum poll

This is a startling statistic. It would be as though half of Flemish Belgians wanted to expel the Walloons or French-speakers from the south of the country. There isn’t any member of the European Union where a large plurality of the population wants to ethnically cleanse a fifth of their co-citizens.

On this account alone, you can’t really consider Israel to have democratic values.

Along the same lines, 42% of Israeli Jews say that squatter settlements on Palestinian land in the Palestinian West Bank benefit Israeli security.

Then, a quarter of Israeli Jews say that where there is a conflict between democratic values and Jewish religious law (Halakhah), religious law should take precedence. The people who hold this fundamentalist view are predominately Haredim (ultra-orthodox) and Dati (Orthodox).

Israel is rapidly changing. The old secular Ashkenazi elite that had operated within the Labor Party and the Histadrut workers union is becoming less influential and a smaller percentage of the Jewish population.

The Haredi or Ultra-Orthodox have risen from 2% to 8% of the population. Some 89% of the Ultra-Orthodox say that where democratic practices clash with Jewish canon law (Halachah), the religious law should take precedence. A solid majority of them want gender segregation on e.g. public buses.

Meanwhile, some 20 percent of Israel is Palestinian-Israelis, whose proportion may well increase over time, to nearly a third. (This is not to mention the 4.5 million Palestinians who have been living under Israeli military administration for over half the history of the Israeli state).

Some 79% of Palestinian-Israelis say that their minority faces substantial prejudice.

Three quarters of Israelis deny any such prejudice.

The Israeli Jewish denial comes about in part from sheer ignorance of their fellow citizens. There is almost no social interaction (friendships, marriage etc.) between Israel’s major religious communities.

One thing increasing percentages of Jewish and Palestinian Israelis agree on? That a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine is now unlikely.


Related video added by Juan Cole:

RT from last fall: “Jews only: Arabs facing discrimination in Israeli property market”

14 Responses

  1. Along the same lines, 42% of Israeli Jews say that squatter settlements on Palestinian land in the Palestinian West Bank benefit Israeli security.

    This is probably true for two main reasons. One because they make the prospect of the return of the land all but impossible without creating a humanitarian problem of the same order as the one it would resolving, and then because they would be first in line if any external enforcement was ever undertaken and, ultimately, sacrificeable.

  2. Thank you Professor Cole.
    That is a great, surreal travesty for Israel and its politicians and its a greater surreal travesty for the USA and its politicians who close the eyes to it and continue to portray Israel as a great democracy. By moral comparison Donald Trump smells like a rose.

  3. This number is not too surprising. Before Bush’s Iraq conquest, he had drummed up 47-60% support for the war: link to
    It’s just the cowards, haters, and fraidy cats, doing what they do. Every country has got them in about the same proportion. It doesn’t reflect well on the Israelis, but neither does it reflect well on US, Germans, French, Russians etc.

  4. Richard Sparrow

    Are Palestinian attitudes any better towards the Jews; and if not should we cut aid to them too? What about aid to the Kurds fighting ISIS? A lot of these guys are not big fans of Arabs but you still have U.S. government & private sector aid going to the Kurds.

    • Being under illegal military occupation for the last 50 years, I would imagine their attitudes are worse. With good reason. This will get very bloody someday.

  5. There isn’t any member of the European Union where a large plurality of the population wants to ethnically cleanse a fifth of their co-citizens.

    Fortunately for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians the American empire builders have discontinued their program of ethnic cleansing provided Natives are not on land coveted by mining companies. The Israeli Zionists and the religious and secular right are more determined to complete their plan of total ethnic cleansing. After the Palestinians are gone they will go after bi-ethnic Israeli-Palestinians, After that, who knows? But Israeli ingenuity knows no bounds and they will find more scapegoats to play into their paranoia.

  6. There isn’t any member of the European Union where a large plurality of the population wants to ethnically cleanse a fifth of their co-citizens.

    Unfortunately the Austrian parliament and media appear to be willing accomplices for Israel’s right wingers: “Austrian Parliament cancels International Women’s Day event following attacks on Hedy Epstein” by Annie Robbins – link to

  7. Jimmy Carter was right when he used the term apartheid. Only now it appears to apply to Arabs living within Israel, as well. Amazing how so many people can be so blind to the consequences of their political decisions–also true of Americans voting for Trump. This can only end disastrously for Israel. Either it will cease being democratic, will no longer be a Jewish state, or will devolve into severe ethnic violence surpassing anything we have seen before.

    • It has never been democratic Gary. A State founded on ethnic cleansing cannot be democratic until it abandons the practice of ethnic cleansing (as the large Anglo Saxon settler States mostly have.) Israel has the choice of being either Jewish or democratic. It is not alone in this: some other Middle Eastern States can be either Islamist or democratic; several European States can be either Christianist or democratic; France can be either laicist or democratic.

  8. It’s worse.

    The question on the Pew Forum website does not say `Palestinian-Israelis’ but `Arabs’. And since Israeli maps of Israel show the West Bank and Gaza as part of Israel, the question would have been about expelling all Palestinians from all of Israel/Palestine.

  9. Of course if a survey revealed nearly half of all Americans wanted to expel all Israelis or dual nationality American-Israelis from the United States the outcry would be deafening as reflecting rampant anti-Semitism. And Palestinians have more of a right to live in both Israel proper and the West Bank than most of those claiming Israeli citizenship.

    • In the late 1980s, Meir Kahane was first elected to the Knesset with the slogan “I say what you think.” He advocated deportation of Palestinian Arabs from “Greater Israel” with compensation.

      He was reviled by the world’s Jewry at the time as an extremist kook and his Kach Party was decertified in Israel due to racist policies.

      Today, posters bearing his image are hung throughout public places in Jerusalem and the violent Kahane Youth movement has reached unprecedented popularity.

      Public attitudes in Israel have changed since the 1980s and – after living through the First and Second Intifadas – many Jewish Israelis have little reluctance about expressing their desire to see Arabs ethnically cleansed from their nation.

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