Israel security chief: Israeli Arabs ”radicalized”
On Tuesday, Israel's Shin Beth internal security service said that Israeli Arabs are becoming more "radicalized" and are identifying with "terrorist organizations" in Iran, Maariv newspaper reported.
Yuval Diskin, Shin Bet chief, said that such "radicalization" could pose a "strategic danger" in the long term for Israel. In an effort to combat this "radicalization," Shin Beth is recommending that the situation and life of Israeli Arabs, who are often treated as second-class citizens, be improved.
Israeli Arabs make up about 20 percent of Israel's population and are descendants of the 160,000 Palestinians who did not join the refugee exodus and remained in Palestine when the state of Israel was declared in 1948.
In February 2006, Israel's Supreme Court recognized that Israeli Arabs face discrimination. On Tuesday, a poll, showing that a rift of misunderstanding between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs exists, was published. The poll showed that 63 percent of Israeli Jews avoid entering Israeli Arab towns or neighborhoods, 64 percent are worried by the high birthrate among Israeli Arabs, 68 percent worry about a revolt, and 73 percent doubt their loyalty to the state.
On the other hand, 74 percent of Israeli Arabs fear violence on behalf of the state, 71 percent fear violence on the part of Jewish citizens, and 80 percent worry their lands could be appropriated.