Photo Credit: David Cohen/Flash90
Ra'am party leader Mansour Abbas in Nazareth, April 1, 2021.

A comprehensive survey of political opinion among the Arab public that was published on Tuesday and conducted by the Konrad Adenauer Program for Jewish-Arab Cooperation at Tel Aviv University has found that Most of the Arab respondents (56.2%) are convinced that Ra’am should demand a ministerial position in the government, such as a minister or deputy minister, rather than just being a member of the coalition. The rest were divided equally between supporters of Ra’am’s decision to join the coalition without a ministerial position (14.4%) and those opposed to Ra’am joining at all (15.5%); about 14% had no opinion on the matter.

It is of interest that one-half of the Joint List voters (52.2%) feel that Ra’am should demand a position in the government rather than just being a member of the coalition. A larger majority of Ra’am voters (61%) and of voters for Jewish parties (70.4%) also feel that way. In contrast, 22.1% of Joint List voters and a small proportion of Ra’am voters (4%) and of voters for Jewish parties (7.4%) feel that Ra’am should not have joined the coalition at all. Ra’am voters, therefore, do not question their party’s decision to join the coalition.

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The respondents were then presented with the following hypothetical question: Is it desirable in the future that the Joint List (Hadash–Balad–Ta’al) reunite with Ra’am? It appears that this idea has broad support among the Arab public. 71.4% of the respondents feel that such a scenario is desirable (of which 59.3% feel it is very desirable) while only 23.7% feel that it is not.

On this question, statistically, significant differences were found according to voting patterns in the last Knesset elections. It appears that the proportion of Joint List voters who feel that the scenario is “very desirable” (the highest level of support) is higher with statistical significance than the proportion of Ra’am voters who feel that way (71.6% vs 61.6%). In any case, there is a high level of support for this scenario among the two groups of voters (81.3% among Joint List voters and 73.7% among Ra’am voters); however, the rate was much lower among voters for the other parties (only 58.2%). On the other hand, only 17.9% of Joint List voters and 23.2% of Ra’am voters feel that this scenario is undesirable.

The survey also found that the Arab public gives the current government an overall score of less-than-average (2.37 on a scale of 1 to 5). The level of confidence among Arab citizens concerning the government’s plan to fight crime in Arab towns is very low (2.13 on a scale of 1 to 5), and similarly for the implementation of the new five-year plan (2022–26) for the economic development of Arab society (2.29 on a scale of 1 to 5).

In recent months, the Israeli government has approved two large-scale programs to deal with problems in Arab society. In August, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced a new program to fight crime in Arab society and the creation of a special branch in the police designated for that purpose. In October, the government approved a new five-year program (2022–26) for Arab society with a cost of NIS 30 billion (roughly $10 billion).

The level of confidence in the implementation of the government programs is higher among voters than among non-voters. The lowest level of confidence among voters concerning the implementation of the two programs was observed among Joint List voters. Their level of confidence in the government program to fight crime in Arab society was so low that it was only slightly higher than among non-voters. On the other hand, the level of confidence among Ra’am voters in the two programs was higher than among the Joint List voters. The level of confidence in the government programs among voters for the Jewish parties was the highest. However, it should be stressed that the confidence of all the groups ranged from low to no more than average.

Dr. Arik Rudnitzky / Asaf Spektor

The Main Findings

  • The majority of those surveyed (56.2%) believe that the Ra’am Arab political party should apply for a ministerial position in the Government (Minister or Deputy Minister) and not be content with simply joining the coalition.
  • The overall score given by the Arab public to the Government is “medium minus” (2.37 on a scale of 1 to 5).
  • The level of trust of Arab citizens in the implementation of the government plan to combat crime in Arab towns and villages is very low (2.13 on a scale of 1 to 5), as it is concerning the implementation of the new five-year plan (2022 – 2026) for the economic development of Arab society (2.29 on a scale of 1 to 5).
  • Following the violent events of May 2021, 51.8% of those surveyed believe that relations between Arabs and Jews in the country have been severely impaired.
  • A year after the signing of the “Abraham Accords”, the Arab public is divided in its position regarding the question of whether the agreements will contribute to political stability in the Middle East; The majority of those surveyed (63.2%) believe that the agreements will not promote a political settlement between Israel and the Palestinians in the future; In contrast, 55.8% of those surveyed believe that the normalization agreements are a positive development for the Arab citizens of the country.

Additional Findings

  • 40.5% of those surveyed believe that the integration of RAAM into the Government will lead to an increase in the turnout of Arab citizens in the next elections, and only 22.7% believe that their turnout may decrease.
  • Half of those surveyed (51%) believe that the current coalition will not last for a full four-year term until the next election. Only 29.1% believe that the current government will serve out its term.
  • A large majority of those surveyed (71.4%) support the reunification of the Joint List [of Arab parties] – Hadash, Ta’al, Balad, and Ra’am, and only 23.7% believe that such a union is undesirable.
  • Opinions among the Arab public are divided over the realistic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: 23.7% believe in a two-state solution based on the 1967 lines, 26.0% believe that the solution is one Palestinian-Jewish state, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, while 37.9% believe there is no solution on the horizon and the situation will remain in limbo.
  • 61.1% of those surveyed said that if elections for the Knesset had been held today, they would have participated in them, and 32.9% said that they would not have participated. In weighing the answers of those surveyed, the estimated turnout is 49%.

The survey was carried out by the Yafa Institute – Market Research, Surveys, and Consulting, under the direction of Dr. Aas Atrash. The data were collected during the period November 7–14, 2021 in a telephone survey carried out in Arabic among a representative sample of the adult Arab population (aged 18+). Size of the sample: 511. Sample error: ±5%.

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