Mada al-Carmel Survey: Palestinians in Israel feel unsafe in the wake of recent events

The majority of the Palestinian community in Israel, 78%, holds the Israeli government responsible for the recent outbreak of violence; 66% report that they do not feel safe after Israeli police appealed to the public to carry guns; and only a minority, 15%, feels a high sense of security regarding the future of the Palestinian community in Israel

Mada al-Carmel: Arab Center for Applied Social Research (Mada) in Haifa, conducted a public opinion survey through Stat Net Institute regarding the recent outbreak of violence to gauge Palestinian public attitudes toward Israel and to ascertain the extent to which Palestinian citizens feel safe or unsafe. The survey was conducted on October 18 and 19, 2015 with a random sample of 307 adult respondents representative of Palestinian citizens of Israel. 

The poll results indicate that the majority of respondents, 78%, hold the Israeli government responsible for the recent outbreak of violence. With regards to the cause of this outbreak, 26% of respondents make reference to Israel's attempt to impose a temporal division in Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem; 24% cite lack of progress in the peace process; 17% refer to the continued Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank; while 16% attribute the violence to the free reign and support given by the Israeli government to the settler movement. 3% of respondents blame the Palestinian Authority for the outbreak in violence, and 7% feel that both parties bear responsibility.

The survey finds that recent events have led to a decline in the levels of security experienced by broad categories of Palestinians in Israel. 66% of respondents report feeling a high degree of insecurity in the wake of the appeal by the Israeli police for the Jewish Israeli public to carry guns. Only 13% of respondents say that they feel a high degree of security after this appeal, while nearly 21% report that they feel moderately safe.

In response to the question, "Do you fear the possibility of armed attacks by Jewish extremists on Arab towns as a result of the current situation?", 43% of those surveyed report a high degree of fear of such attacks; 29% report moderate fear; while the rest, 28%, say that they fear the occurrence of such attacks either to a low degree (11%) or not at all (17%).

Regarding levels of popular support in Israeli society for calls made by politicians, government officials and police to shoot and kill the perpetrators of stabbings, a plurality of respondents (36%) say that these statements find support from the majority of Israeli society; 28% say that they are moderately accepted by Israeli society; 16% say that they find minimal support within Israeli society; and 14% say that such calls find no support within Israeli society. 

A clear majority of those surveyed (70%) report avoiding Jewish towns, cities, and areas to varying degrees for fear of their safety: 39% report that they avoid being present in Jewish communities at all times, while 31% report that they sometimes avoid Jewish communities. 

When asked to what extent they feel a sense of security regarding the future of the Arab community in Israel, 45% of respondents say that they feel a low sense of security or no sense of security at all, 40% report feeling a moderate sense of security, while 15% say that they feel a high sense of security.

Assessing the results of the survey, Mada Survey Research Unit Director Dr. Ameed Saabneh noted, “The results of the survey indicate that the Arab public in Israel holds the Israel government responsible for the recent events. The results also clearly indicate a sense of fear among the Arab population about violence by Israeli security services or the Jewish public, leading to an increased separation between the two communities.”     

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