An annual survey conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute revealed that more than half of the Israelis believe that Israeli should encourage its Arab residents to immigrate; 62% of the Israelis support a “government-backed Arab immigration from Israel”.

The poll “Democracy Index 2006”, was conducted in the Gutman Center under the direction of Professor Asher Arian.

This percentage that supports encouraging Arab immigration from Israel is 22% higher that a poll conducted by the Geocartography Institute in Match.  

Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that the annual survey of the status of democracy in Israel was published Tuesday morning, in preparation for the Israel Democracy Institute conference which will be held on Wednesday under the sponsorship of the Israeli president Moshe Katzav.

According to the poll results, 62% of the Israelis said that they support encouraging Arab immigration from Israel  and 79% of the Israelis said that they trust the capabilities of the Israeli army.

14% said that the relations between the Arabs and Jews in Israel is “good”, and 29% said that they believe that the “important decisions regarding the future of the state of Israel” requires the consensus of a Jewish majority”.

The study also shows a decline in public disapproval of Israel soldiers refusing orders due to personal morals or ideology, especially regarding refusal to evacuate settlements.

58% did not support the refusal of orders in the military, as opposed to 70% last year.

The poll which focused on public interest in political parties in Israel showed that confidence in politicians has declined.

82% of respondents believe that democracy is the ideal form of government for Israel. This percentage is a 5%  increase from the previous poll. 77% believe that democracy is the ideal form of government for any country.

27% feel that they can influence their government’s policies, while only 17% think elected officials fulfill their campaign promises.

Only 25% of that Israeli public believes that Knesset members are concerned with what the public thinks.

Also, only 22% of the polled said that they trust the political parties in Israel, 33% place their trust in the Knesset, 44% trust the media, 68% trust Israel’s Supreme Court, and 79% said that they trust the Israeli Army.

Arab member of Knesset, Jamal Zahalka, commented on the results of the poll and said that “racism in Israel became a central issue supported by the majority of the public and enjoys representation at the Knesset.

“The demographic obsession in Israel, especially the obsession of the Zionist parties became an exposed racism”, Zahalka stated, “Israel’s education system talks about Israel as the state of the Jews, a Jewish state, and does not seriously promote the idea of equality among all residents”.

“The Jewish citizens, affected by the racist mentality of the Israeli policy, observe the Arabs as the factor that obstructs Israel from becoming a Jewish state” Zahalka added, “Therefor, talks about expelling them become an accepted issue to the public in Israel, and enjoy a wider support”.

Zahalka also said that Israel “brags to the world that it is a democratic state, and fights antisemitism, while in fact, it is a state filled with racism and hostility towards the Arabs”.