Israeli border police check Palestinians before Friday prayers in Jerusalem's Old City

Israeli border police check Palestinians before Friday prayers in Jerusalem’s Old City, November 10, 2023. REUTERS/Latifeh Abdellatif acquires license rights

JERUSALEM, Nov 10 (Reuters) – The war in Gaza has significantly increased the sense of solidarity with Israel among the 21 percent Arab minority, who often identify as Palestinian and have long complained of discrimination by the State, according to a poll released Friday.

When asked if they felt an integral part of the country, 70% of Arab citizens surveyed answered “yes”, up from 48% in June, the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) said, describing it as the highest result for the sector since these surveys began. 20 years ago.

However, only 27% of Arabs surveyed say they are optimistic about Israel’s future, compared to 72% of Jews.

Among Israel’s Jewish majority, 94 percent feel part of the country, IDI said, a peak last seen in 2003, when the country was at the height of the military operation against militants. Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Israel went to war in Gaza following an October 7 cross-border attack by Hamas gunmen in which some 1,400 of its civilians and soldiers were killed, including Arab citizens. Since then, more than 10,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli forces.

The Arab minority, mostly Muslim, is descended from Palestinian Arabs who remained in Israel when it was founded during the 1948 war in what was once British-ruled Palestine. Hundreds of thousands of their loved ones have fled or been expelled.

Asked whether, if they had another Western citizenship, they would leave Israel, 80.5 percent of Jews surveyed said they would stay, as did 59 percent of Arabs surveyed, according to the IDI poll.

Israel’s far-right police minister warned that internal Arab unrest could be triggered, as happened during the previous Gaza war in 2021. But this has not been confirmed.

Police made arrests among Arab citizens accused of social media posts inciting pro-Palestinian violence and arrested five Arab community leaders on Thursday who had planned to stage an anti-war protest.

Lawyers for those arrested called the measures undemocratic.

The IDI is a non-partisan think tank. Its survey was conducted on November 5 and 6, with a representative sample of 502 respondents and a margin of error of 4.04%.

Written by Dan Williams; Editing by Angus MacSwan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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