Report finds widespread racism among Israel’s youth

Isaeli supporters of the right-wing Organisation for Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land (LEHAVA) protest a marriage between an Israeli Jew and a Palestinian (AFP)

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  February 19, 2021

Racial hatred among Israel’s youth.

A comprehensive study conducted at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem revealed widespread racism and belief in stereotypes among a majority of teenagers from various backgrounds in Israel.

The study, which was conducted by the university’s aChord Center, aimed to draw a “map of hatred” in Israel, according to Haaretzand reached 1,100 youngsters between the ages of 16 and 18 – including Palestinian citizens of Israel, secular, religious and ultra-Orthodox Jewish Israelis – between May and July 2020.

The study showed that 66 percent of the ultra-Orthodox, 42 percent of religious Israelis, and 24 percent of secularists “hate Arabs”, meaning the Palestinian community that makes up 20 percent of the Israeli population and who participate in the Knesset and government institutions. 

The study said that 49 percent of religious Israelis and 23 percent of secular citizens supported stripping the right to vote from Palestinians inside Israel. Twelve percent of Palestinian citizens of Israel said they hated Israeli secularists, and 22 percent said they hated religious and ultra-Orthodox Israelis.

Nine percent of the Palestinians approached by the study said they support stripping the right to vote from Israeli secularists, 13 percent supported taking the vote from religious Israelis, and 19 percent agreed to do the same for the ultra-Orthodox community. 

Among Israelis, the levels of hatred varied according to the study. Seven percent of Israeli secularists said they believed religious Israelis should not vote in the elections, and 12 percent said the Ultra-Orthodox community’s right to vote should be denied. 

Also, 23 percent of Israeli secularists said they hated the ultra-Orthodox community, and eight percent expressed dislike of religious Israelis. Eight percent of the latter, however, said they hated Israeli secularists, and ten percent said they disliked ultra-Orthodox Israelis. 

The study concluded that young Israelis expressed severe negative feelings and preconceptions and almost no desire to get to know other groups in the society considered marginal to them. 

aChord Center, which deals with social psychological issues to drive change in society, said the goal of the study was to open a discussion about hatred and bridge the gaps between communities and sects in the country through the educational system.

It called for immediate measure to be taken to counter “the absence of tolerance, the hatred and the rejection of the youths who differ from them.”