Israeli Democracy Index: Israelis Believe Jews Should be Privileged, Non-Jews Should Not Decide Major Issues

Richard Silverstein

[Originally posted on this blog on 10/10/13]

The Israel Democracy Institute released its latest Democracy Index (summary and full findings), which I’ve covered here in the past. The findings, as I’ve reported before, confirm that by and large Israelis hold racist views and reject bedrock democratic principles, while believing that their country should be both Jewish and a democracy.

Just under 50% (48.9%) believe Israel should privilege Jewish citizens over non-Jews. Of those, younger Israelis showed an even higher preference for Jewish privilege (65%). 47% of Jews said that in terms of neighbors, their greatest aversion was to having an “Arab” neighbor. The survey, of course, perpetuates this racism by calling Israeli Palestinians by the common Jewish-used term, “Arab.” An even greater proportion, 56% expressed antipathy to having a foreign worker as a neighbor (among whom would be included African refugees). 42% of Palestinian respondents shared an aversion to a Jewish family as neighbors. 44% support policies encouraging Palestinian citizens to emigrate from Israel. This racist policy, known as population transfer, began in the 1970s as a hallmark of the Kahanist movement. But it became mainstream over the years (though the percentage of Israelis supporting it has gradually declined in recent years).

68% of Jews believe only they should be allowed to determine matters of peace and security, while 57% believe this should also hold true for economic matters. 31% (a plurality) believed that only Jews should be permitted to vote on any referendum on the final status of the Occupied Territories. 65% of Israeli Jews believe that Jews are “the chosen people.”

Of those, the majority tend to believe non-Jews should have no role in determining major national policy choices. The older the respondent the less likely they were to believe Jews were chosen. It should go without saying that these views are flagrantly anti-democratic and conflict with the view that most Israeli Jews hold that Israel is and should be democratic.

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