A new poll conducted on behalf of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews in the Israeli Arab population is raising red flags – and reinforcing recent warnings by President Reuven Rivlin about the rising popularity of Da’esh (ISIS) in that population.
Rivlin said that according to figures gleaned from “research studies, arrests, testimonies and covert analyses,” there is increasing support for Da’esh among Israeli Arabs.
The survey, conducted by the Stat-net Institute, polled a sample of 500 low-income Israeli Arabs. The findings showed that 67 percent of Israeli Arabs feel discriminated against, and 71 percent feel that low-income Israeli Jews receive more state aid than they do. Further, 54 percent of Israeli Arabs feel the government – including Israeli Arab Mks – do not care about their interests.
The poll was commissioned to measure the impact of The Fellowship’s financial support for low-income Israeli-Arab citizens, according to IFCJ founder and director Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. Instead, it came up with clanging bells and warning signs.
“The survey shows Israel should be caring more for its Arab citizens and investing in them the same way it does with its most vulnerable Jewish citizens, not only for moral reasons but also to counter the threat of political extremism and to promote patriotism. If we don’t invest in Israel’s citizens, ISIS will,” said IFCJ founder and director, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.
“We found a direct correlation between Israeli Arabs’ feelings of being treated equally to Jews and their sense of belonging to society and even their willingness to serve,” added Eckstein. “If we can change the numbers, we can avoid Israeli Arabs becoming a strategic threat.”
The IFCJ has invested more than $35 million on social welfare programs for Israeli Arabs in recent years, he said. Those investments included programs to help the elderly, children, and at-risk youth, and on drug abuse prevention, emergency financial aid, job empowerment for women, and other initiatives.
The survey found that among the low-income Israeli Arabs who felt they are being treated unfairly compared to poor Israeli Jews, only 20 percent said they “feel strongly or very strongly connected to Israel.”
Only 38 percent of Israeli Arabs who feel they lack equal rights in Israel said they would perform national service.
Of those who felt they were treated equally, 58 percent of Israeli Arabs said they would perform national service.
Rivlin warned a week ago (Jan. 18) that Israeli Arab teens are growing more enamored with becoming Da’esh operatives for the ISIS terror organization.
“The Islamic State is already here – that is no longer a secret,” Rivlin told participants at the ninth annual international conference of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS). “I am not speaking about territories bordering the State of Israel – but within Israel itself.” He, too, added that it is in the best interest of Israel to offer its Arab population a better future than the fantasies promised by terror groups such as Da’esh.
Rivlin said it is in the best interest of the state to offer Israel’s Arabs a better future than that promised by groups such as Da’esh. “If children are growing up without a dream, without hope or without aspirations, with the feeling that their blood and their lives are of a lesser value in the State of Israel, then we must think of how to offer them a dream, hope and faith,” Rivlin said.Hana Levi Julian