73% of Arab Citizens Support the Protest Movement vs. Netanyahu

A survey conducted by The Abraham Initiatives in late October found that 73% of the Arab citizens in Israel support the goals of the protest movement against far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Fifty-eight per cent of those surveyed said they would participate in demonstrations if these would highlight ongoing issues facing Israel’s Arab national minority, such as the economic situation and housing.

Hadash and Communist Party activists conduct a "red flag protest" in the Galilee. From left to right the Hadash placards read: "The people demand social justice"; "Netanyahu serves the wealthy"; "Salaried, independents, and unemployed together against the government"; "Democracy for all."

Hadash and Communist Party activists conduct a “red flag protest” in the Galilee. From left to right the Hadash placards read: “The people demand social justice”; “Netanyahu serves the wealthy”; “Salaried, independents, and unemployed together against the government”; “Democracy for all.”(Photo: Al-Ittihad)

Other findings include how Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel perceive the cause of the protests: 47% indicated opposition to Netanyahu’s corruption, 45% said the protests oppose government mismanagement, and 13% think that the protests are against the lockdown and in favor of restoring economic activity nearly all of whom identified the need to improve the economic situation. On the question of whether the protests are influential, 52% agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “I am very frustrated that Arab protestors are unable to make any change in Israel’s political establishment.”

The survey was based on 501 responses, and was drawn from a sample of the Arab population in Israel’s Galilee region, the Arab Triangle and in mixed Jewish-Arab cities.

“Political involvement of Arab citizens reflects participation and belonging. In recent months, we have witnessed a wave of political and economic protests surrounding the coronavirus crisis, but the public perception is that Arab citizen participation in these protests has been limited,” Dr. Thabet Abu Rass and Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu, co-Executive Directors of The Abraham Initiatives noted in a statement. “This reality prevails despite the fact the protests’ stated aims are mostly in line with Arab society’s political stances, as reflected in surveys as well as in voting patterns in the three election cycles of 2019/2020. The survey findings indicate that Arab citizens express great interest in the protests; however, it is clear that the protests are not relevant enough to core issues specific to Arab society,” they added.

For several weeks now anti-Netanyahu demonstrations have taken place in the Arab towns of Taibeh and Shefamr in the south and north of the Triangle region and near Sakhnin and Kafr Yassif in the Galilee. In these events Hadash and Communist Party activists have held “red flag protests” calling on the prime minister to resign because of his incitement of racism and the corruption charges for which he has been indicted and is currently on trial.