Half of Jewish high schoolers say Arabs shouldn’t vote – poll
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Half of Jewish high schoolers say Arabs shouldn’t vote – poll

New survey finds 59% of high school students consider themselves right-wing, only 13% identify as left-wing

Dov Lieber is The Times of Israel's Arab affairs correspondent.

Students in Kiryat Sharet high school in Holon take their matriculation exams in mathematics, May 21, 2013. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)
Students in Kiryat Sharet high school in Holon take their matriculation exams in mathematics, May 21, 2013. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

A new poll published Wednesday found nearly half of Jewish Israeli high school students saying they believe Arabs should not have the right to vote.

The poll, conducted by New Wave Research for the Israel Hayom daily, asked Jewish Israeli high school students in grades 11-12 a variety of questions intended to probe their opinions on current affairs and political identity, among other issues. Its full results will be published in the newspaper Friday.

Nearly half (48%) of those polled answered “no” to the question: “Do you think Arab Israelis should be represented in the Knesset?”

The remainder, 52%, said Arab Israelis should have representation in the Knesset.

The figure comes amid an ongoing controversy over the suspension of Arab members of the Knesset who paid a condolence call to the families of terrorists who killed Israelis. That controversy has led to the proposal of a bill that would allow 90 Knesset members to suspend a fellow lawmaker who they believed undermined Israel’s existence “as a Jewish and democratic state,” incited racism or expressed support for a terror group or an enemy at war with Israel.

File: Joint (Arab) List members Jamal Zahalka (left), Basel Ghattas (center) and Hanin Zoabi (right) at the weekly Joint (Arab) List meeting at the Knesset, on February 8, 2016. On January 2, the trio met with the families of Palestinian terrorists, prompting a political outcry. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Joint (Arab) List members Jamal Zahalka (left), Basel Ghattas (center) and Hanin Zoabi (right) at the weekly Joint (Arab) List meeting at the Knesset, on February 8, 2016. On January 2, the trio met with the families of Palestinian terrorists, prompting a political outcry. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

According to the CEO of pollster New Wave, Reuven Harari, most of the figures in the poll “were not surprising,” as they matched numbers pollsters have found for Israeli adults.

Hariri told Army Radio that the research had two important and interconnected findings. First, youths in Israel are more right-wing than their parents. Second, according to Hariri, while “the trend around the world is for youth to be more left-wing than their parents, in Israel we are special in that our youth is more to the right of their parents.”

According to Israel Hayom, a right-leaning newspaper close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the poll also found that 59% of 11th- and 12th-graders identified as politically right-wing, 23% identified with the center and only 13% said they considered themselves left-wing.

These percentages stayed nearly the same when the youths were asked about whether the soldier who recently shot and killed an incapacitated Palestinian attacker in Hebron should be prosecuted. Some 60% said the soldier should not be prosecuted, 30% said he should be prosecuted, while 10% said they had no opinion on the matter.

An Israeli soldier who shot a Palestinian assailant in Hebron sits in a military court hearing in Tel Aviv, April 5, 2016. (Flash90)
An Israeli soldier who shot a Palestinian assailant in Hebron sits in a military court hearing in Tel Aviv, April 5, 2016. (Flash90)

According to Hariri, 60% of those polled also said they believed medical treatment should not be given to an injured terrorist.

In general, the poll showed a high level of patriotic feeling among youth, with 85% saying they “love the country,” 89% saying they see their future in Israel, 88% saying they planned to enlist in the army (which is mandatory for most Jewish youth), and 65% saying they agreed with the adage attributed to Zionist hero Joseph Trumpeldor, who died in battle in 1920: “It is good to die for one’s country.”

According to the Israel Hayom report, the high levels of patriotism are linked in the poll to the belief among most respondents that the central challenge of their lives is the security threat to the country.

Asked what they loved most about Israel, the top answers were that the country felt like a family and that Israelis banded together in a time of crisis.

Members of the Border Police mourn during the funeral of their colleague, 19-year-old officer Hadar Cohen on February 4, 2016, during her funeral in the town of Yehud. (AFP / JACK GUEZ)
Members of the Border Police mourn during the funeral of their colleague, 19-year-old officer Hadar Cohen on February 4, 2016, during her funeral in the town of Yehud. (AFP / JACK GUEZ)

The respondents were also distinctly pessimistic about the chances for a peace deal with the Palestinians. A whopping 82% said there was no chance at all of achieving a peace deal, while just 18% said an agreement was possible.

Marissa Newman contributed to this report

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