JERUSALEM // A survey by an Israeli think tank published yesterday said while most of the country's Jews deny claims of discrimination against its Arab citizens, one third view them as outside Israeli society.
The Israel Democracy Institute said in its annual survey: "The data show that at present the Arab population feels discriminated against to a great extent, while a majority of the Jewish population rejects the allegation,"
It said that asked if they considered Arab citizens of Israel as "part of Israeli society," 67.9 per cent of Jewish respondents and 86.1 per cent of Arabs answered in the affirmative.
The institute said More than three quarters - 77.6 per cent - of Arabs interviewed felt "discriminated against compared with Jewish citizens," but half - 52.5 per cent - of Jews disagreed.
Israeli Arabs, who make up nearly 20 per cent of the population, are Palestinians who remained in the Jewish state after the 1948 war that attended its creation, along with their descendants.
While they are guaranteed full equality under Israeli law, they say that in practice they are short-changed in job opportunities, education and public funding, among other areas.
The far-right Yisrael Beitenu party of Avigdor Lieberman, the foreign minister, won 15 seats in Israel's 120-member parliament in the 2009 general election. That made it the legislature's third-largest party, on a platform which included revoking Israeli Arabs' nationality unless they swear allegiance to the state.
The institute said its Israel Democracy Index was compiled from interviews conducted in March with a representative sample of 1,200 Israeli adults, 85 per cent of them Jews and 15 per cent Arabs.
It had a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.