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Israeli Jews question Palestinians’ loyalty and don’t want them in government — leading political scientist

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Israeli Jews are overwhelmingly rightwing and do not want Palestinians in their government as ministers or part of the governing coalition because they question Palestinian loyalty to the state, one of the country’s leading political scientists says. Benjamin Netanyahu has the inside track to remain prime minister because he supports the “Jewish identity” of the state, she says. And anyone who expects a liberal Zionist to gain power is deluded. The left is a “marginal” factor in the Israeli election in September.

The only thing Palestinians and Jews in Israel agree about is: The Trump peace plan is going nowhere.

Tamar Hermann

Tamar Hermann of the Israel Democracy Institute spoke to the liberal Zionist group Israel Policy Forum last week, and reported on the latest surveys of Israeli public opinion.

By a whopping 39 to 24 percent, Prime Minister Netanyahu outpolls his nearest rival , Benny Gantz of Blue and White, as the best choice to be PM. The fact that their parties, Likud and Blue and White, are likely to get similar numbers of parliamentary seats doesn’t mean that the two leaders are standing “on equal footing,” Hermann says.

Who do you want as PM?

“Right now it seems that Likud will be more capable of being the so-called party of the next coalition” than Blue and White, Hermann says, because there are far more political resources on the right than center. Though Avigdor Lieberman/Yisrael Beteinu remain the x factor, having gained strength since Lieberman ended Netanyahu’s hopes of making a coalition after the April election.

Polling, May to July 2019, by Israel Democracy Institute

Israeli Jews are overwhelmingly rightwing. In the 1990s, there were two electoral camps: left and right. Today the left is a “very small political bloc,” 12 percent of Israeli Jews, that cannot achieve anything politically. Hermann cautioned liberal outsiders to give up their “expectations” of the Israeli left to have real influence on policymaking or construction of next government. It won’t happen.

Political blocs in Israel June 2019, per the Israel Democracy Institute.

The people vote for the right “because it emphasizes the Jewish identity of the state,” Hermann says. They might support the economic policies of the left but don’t vote left because they don’t think the left respects the “Jewishness” of the state, because the left sides with Arabs.

Of course Palestinians are on the left, but the Jewish left and the Palestinian left are largely separate. They are divided by “the issue of Zionism,” Hermann says. “[The Palestinians] see themselves as on the left but they do not share the Zionist commitment of the Israeli Jewish left.” Zionism makes it “very, very difficult to create a Jewish Arab coalition” or even just a political alliance in which the Palestinians would serve as a “safety net” for a leftleaning coalition governing majority.

Palestinians need not apply to be part of any Israeli government. When it comes to the “desire of the Arabs to take part in strategic policy making discussions, the majority of the Jewish public says No,” Hermann says flatly. Liberals Americans should read this closely:

“We get over 60 percent time and again of Jews refusing to have the Arab parties be part of the [governing] coalition, and of having Arab ministers… The only resource that Jews are unwilling to share is actually political power over the decision-making processes in Israel… One fifth of the population is thought by the majority group as unqualified or as having no rights of taking part in the most critical political processes.”

(No wonder many American leftists see Zionism as racist.)

Palestinians think they can be part of the Palestinian nation and still be loyal citizens. But Jews question their loyalty. Hermann said that the 68 percent of the Jews in the poll below don’t think Palestinians can be part of the Palestinian nation and be loyal citizens. Palestinians overwhelmingly believe they can be both.

Loyalty to Israel of Palestinians who believe they are part of the Palestinian nation. Israel Democracy Institute.

The Palestinians don’t like the 2018 nation state law, and increasingly do not think Israel has the right to define itself as the nation state of the Jewish people. And Hermann says that negativity feeds the desire of the Jewish majority to insist on making clear to Palestinians, it’s a Jewish state.

Palestinians on the nation state law.

Israeli Jews and Palestinians live in utterly separate mental spheres. Most Israelis feel very good indeed about the country; it has more successes than failures. But of the 9 percent who believe it has more failures than successes are mainly Arabs, Hermann says. “To a significant extent some parts of the Israeli Arabs are actually detached from the mainstream Israeli discourse.”


Israeli attitudes on the state’s achievements/failures. Polling by Israel uwarDemocracy Institute.

Resolving the Palestinian conflict is seen as an important issue by only 7 percent of Israeli Jews. Security comes second to economic issues, Hermann says, because Jews regard the current security arrangements as “good” and approve the Israel Defense Forces’ handling of security matters. The Iran issue is not considered an immediate threat, and Palestinians are not thought of as “a real danger.”

A third intifada is not thought of as a realistic likelihood in the near future. Peace with Palestinians was “totally absent” in the last elections and lacking very dramatic events, it won’t lose its “very marginal place” in the Israeli elections. As for promoting equality in Israeli society– that means promoting equality within Israeli Jewish society, Hermann explained.

Considerations on the part of Israeli Jewish voters. June 2019.

More on the segregation. Asked, Is Israel democratic for Arabs? a very strong majority of Jews say, yes, while Palestinian majority says No. Which only shows you that these two groups don’t see things from a similar perspective, Hermann says, and of course this is a reason that many Arabs don’t want to take any part in political life of Israel.

Is Israel democratic for Palestinian citizens? Israel Democracy Institute. June 2019.

Here’s one thing they agree on. The Trump peace plan. “Almost everyone, Jews and Arabs, in Israel do not have almost any expectation that this would lead to peace.” The differences among political groups are minor.

Do you believe Trump peace plan will succeed? low percentages in Israel, per Israel Democracy Institute.

Only 25 percent of religious Israeli Jews support a two-state solution, 11 percent of ultra-orthodox, 36 percent of traditional Israelis. A large majority– 68 percent– of Israeli seculars support a two-state solution, but only about a third of them think it is realistic. So even among that portion of Israel that supports two states, they don’t believe it’s going to happen. By age, the numbers are even crueler. Nearly 2/3 of Jews over 55 favor a two-state solution. But among 18-34 year olds the number is 32 percent.

Support for two state solution among Jews by age, in Israel.

Jews are increasingly identifying themselves as Jews rather than Israelis. Hermann says it’s especially true of religious young Jews participating in politics. Palestinian identity is chiefly as Arabs and Muslim/Christians, the polling shows. Only 9.5 percent see themselves as “Israelis.” Of course the nation state law “also had a negative effect on the willingness of the Israeli Arabs to participate in the elections.”

Israeli and Palestinian identity. June 2019, Israel Democracy Institute.


Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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8 Responses

  1. eljay on July 16, 2019, 12:31 pm

    The majority of the Jewish citizens of a supremacist “Jewish State” are Jewish supremacists. Whodathunkit?!

    … The Palestinians don’t like the 2018 nation state law, and increasingly do not think Israel has the right to define itself as the nation state of the Jewish people. And Hermann says that negativity feeds the desire of the Jewish majority to insist on making clear to Palestinians, it’s a Jewish state. …

    Shame on the non-Jewish citizens of Israel for responding with “negativity” to the supremacist nature of their state and to their inferior status within it.

    • Misterioso on July 17, 2019, 3:30 pm

      @eljay, et al

      Breaking News:

      CODEPINK news release, July 17/19:

      “This is HISTORIC! Rep. Ilhan Omar — along with Reps John Lewis and Rashida Tlaib — just introduced the first-ever congressional resolution supporting the Palestinian grassroots movement to boycott Israel in order to pressure the country to abide by international law and respect the human rights of Palestinians.

      “Introduced in 2005, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is now a key strategy for promoting Palestinian rights. Unfortunately, Israel, seeking to maintain it’s status quo of occupation and apartheid, treats BDS as public enemy #1, as do many pro-Israel members of the U.S. Congress.

      “Speaking today to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Omar described how H.Res.496 ‘recognizes the proud history of boycott movements in this country leading back to the Boston Tea party. We should honor these movements and that history.’ Take action now: Contact your member of Congress and ask them to cosponsor H.Res.496, the resolution ‘affirming that all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad, as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.’

      “One of the most incredible aspects of this resolution is that it is co-sponsored by Rep. Lewis, a long-time civil rights leader and 32-year-long Congressmember known for his strong support for Israel. Having Rep. Lewis as part of this resolution sends a clear and direct statement that the right to boycott must be protected, regardless of one’s position on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. This is a game-changer!

      “H.Res.496 will serve as a counterweight to another congressional resolution — H.Res.246 — which condemns the BDS movement. While H.Res.246 is non-binding and doesn’t prescribe specific punishments for those who boycott Israel, it makes false claims. It says that BDS is anti-semitic, which it is not, and it says that the BDS movement opposes the two-state solution. In fact, BDS doesn’t take a position on a one-state or two-state solution, instead, it is a movement advocating for human rights for all and for adherence to international law.

      “Contact your representative in the House. Tell them to vote no on H.Res.246 and instead join Congresswoman’s Ilhan Omar’s historic resolution affirming our right to boycott for freedom, equality, and justice.”

      Towards freedom and equality,

      Ann, Ariel, Carley, Clara, Georgia, Jodie, Maya, Mark, Medea, Megan, Nancy, Paki, Rose, Ryan, Sarah, Teri, Tighe, Umama, Ursula, and Zena

  2. LiberatePalestine on July 16, 2019, 5:51 pm

    → the Zionist commitment of the Israeli Jewish left.

    There is no such thing as a left-wing Zionist—Israëli, Jewish, or otherwise. Apartheid, racial supremacy, institutionalised inequality—these ideas belong to the right, not to the left.

  3. Boris on July 16, 2019, 11:02 pm

    “(No wonder many American leftists see Zionism as racist.)”

    In Israel Jews come in all kind of colors, while Palestinians are uniformly white.

    So, why these lefties see Zionism as racist? Is it only because “racist” is a negative label?

    Like in “two legs bad, four legs good”?

    • Talkback on July 17, 2019, 9:10 am

      Boris: “In Israel Jews come in all kind of colors, …”

      What does this even have to do with the question if one of them is racist towards Arabs or not?

      Boris: “So, why these lefties see Zionism as racist?”

      There were two preceding paragraphs (one of them is a quote) that explains why they do. Do you think that you are able to overcome your Hasbara implant and find them? Just relax and try to focus. It may take some time and might be blurry at the beginning. But it’s much easier if you know that there’s a world beyond Hasbara out there.

    • Misterioso on July 17, 2019, 10:24 am



      “So why these lefties see Zionism as racist?”

      Because Zionism is undeniably “racist.”

      Here’s a few examples:

      Once they arrived in Israel, Mizrachim (Arab Jews) were treated little better than animals. Those from Yemen were shorn of their side locks and sprayed with DDT to “disinfect” and “delouse” them and crammed into unsanitary overcrowded camps. After a short while the Mizrachi immigrants were ordered to leave the camps and earn their keep by working at menial tasks in nearby large Ashkenazi settlements. Ben-Gurion compared them to the Africans who were brought to America as slaves. (Segev, 1949: The First Israelis …, p. 157)

      The fair-skinned Ashkenazi immigrants, however, were welcomed with open arms as equals and housed in the homes of dispossessed and expelled indigenous Christian and Muslim Palestinian Arabs. When Soviet immigrants arrived during 1969-70 Prime Minister Golda Meir greeted them at the airport declaring: “You are the real Jews. We have been waiting for you for twenty-five years…. You are a superior breed – you will provide us with heroes.” (Quoted by Joseph Massad, Zionism’s Others…, Journal of Palestine Studies, Summer 1996, pp. 61-62)

      In the view of another prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Shamir, the Palestinians are of no more significance than insects when compared to Jews: ‘From this mountain top and from the vantage point of history I say that these people [the Palestinians] are like grasshoppers compared to us.’ (The Independent, April 1988, from Reuter, Tel Aviv; quoted by Michael Rice, False Inheritance, Kegan Paul International, London and New York, 1994, p. 127).

      Rabbi Perin, in an eulogy for mass murderer, Baruch Goldstein, in 1994: ‘One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.’ (New York Times, Feb. 28, 1994)

      In April, 2001, during his Passover sermon, Rabbi Ovadia Yossef, the spiritual leader of the Shas party and former Israeli Chief Rabbi, described the Arabs as ‘serpents’ and in his Passover sermon, he stated that ‘the Lord shall waste their seed, devastate them and vanish them from this world. It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.’

      Regarding Palestinians residing in the occupied West Bank, Raphael Eitan, then Israel’s Chief of Staff, declared: ‘When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle….(New York Times, 14 April 1983)

      Prime Minister Ehud Barak: ‘The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more…’ (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 30, 2002)

      “Former Foreign Ministry director-general invokes South Africa comparisons. ‘Joint Israel-West Bank’ reality is an apartheid state”
      EXCERPT: “Similarities between the ‘original apartheid’ as it was practiced in South Africa and the situation in ISRAEL [my emphasis] and the West Bank today ‘scream to the heavens,’ added [Alon] Liel, who was Israel’s ambassador in Pretoria from 1992 to 1994. There can be little doubt that the suffering of Palestinians is not less intense than that of blacks during apartheid-era South Africa, he asserted.” (Times of Israel, February 21, 2013)

      “The Racist Entity That Is Taking Over Israel Must Be Toppled”
      Haaretz, Feb 27, 2011 by Sefi Rachlevsky
      “…Israel has built a world where the Jews are citizens and the Arabs are not, both in the occupied territories and in Jerusalem; where a Jewish man is a citizen and his Arab neighbor is not. Most Jewish first-graders attend ultra-Orthodox and religious schools. The majority of them are educated along the lines of ‘The King’s Torah.’ A Jew is human. A non-Jew is non-human. ‘Thou shalt not kill’ does not apply to non-Jews. And this is not delivered in the form of incitement, but as a simple statement of a fact. As simple as calling a chair a chair.”

      BTW, unable to bear their circumstances and the blatant racism directed towards them by the Ashkenazi/white European Jewish establishment, about 5,000 Moroccan Jews promptly returned to Morocco after arriving in Israel in the late 1940s. In recent years thousands more have returned home and continue to do in order to live a meaningful, peaceful and prosperous life among their Arab/Muslim/Christian brothers and sisters. Morocco is benefitting greatly from their return.

      • jon s on July 17, 2019, 4:34 pm

        5000 Morroccan Jews promptly returned to Morrocco?
        I sort of doubt it, seeing that the total number of Jews in Morrocco today is around 2000.

  4. Vera Gottlieb on July 18, 2019, 11:02 am

    Frankly, I would not care to be loyal to any government in whichever country that treats me as Palestinians are being treated by israel.

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