Givat Haviva Knesset Conference Presents "Roadmap for S...

Givat Haviva Knesset Conference Presents "Roadmap for Shared Society" and national poll

December 29, 2017

On December 19th, Givat Haviva's Center for Shared Society held a special conference in the Knesset with the Knesset "Caucus on Shared Society" to present the results of a two-year project, "Roadmap for a Shared Society", as well as findings from a national poll taken at the end of the project, measuring Jewish and Arab attitudes towards shared society concepts. The conference was attended by 15 MKs from both opposition and coalition parties.

Roadmap for a Shared Society

"Roadmap for a Shared Society" has been a two-year, multi-stakeholder project dedicated to “developing, deliberating and advocating for a joint vision of implementable, measurable goals for a shared society in Israel.” In the first year, the project convened more than 70 leading Jewish and Arab public figures to formulate concrete goals and measures across a range of socio-economic categories based on UN Millennium Development Goals. In the second phase, these concepts and measures were presented to the public through various means for feedback and input, which were then reintegrated into the recommendations, and into a national poll of public attitudes towards shared society in Israel and these recommendations specifically.

The recommendations presented to the Knesset as a culmination of this project, an English language summary can be seen here, address key issues of majority-minority relations in Israel under five major categories: governance, restorative processes and cultural representation, education, economic development and land use. They include, for example, recommendations for the creation of a "state commission" that will formulate a mandatory curriculum on shared life education; platforms to enhance cooperation between Arab local government and civil society; monitoring of the number of Arabs employed by the government and of governmental development funds; and the establishment of nationwide volunteering, educational and cooperative programs to advance various aspects of shared society, to name a few.

National Poll

Along with the documents, Givat Haviva also presented findings of a poll conducted among 500 Jewish and Arab citizens (21% Arabs and 79% Jews) which examined attitudes towards shared society concepts and their practical implications. While the poll showed that a majority of Jews and Arabs support the overall concept of a shared society in Israel, including some of the measures needed to achieve it, it also found significant resistance among Jews especially to some of the societal implications. According to the study:

  • 84% of Arabs and 64% of Jews in Israel support the idea of coexistence, with majorities in both groups agreeing education should be geared towards promoting shared life;
  • More than half of Jewish respondents also said they had visited an Arab neighborhood over the past year, while 56% of them said they want their children to learn Arabic from a young age;
  • Among Arabs, more than 90% said they had visited a Jewish neighborhood in the past year, with 84% interested in teaching their children Hebrew.

At the same time:

  • While 63% of Arabs agreed it is important for Israel to increase the representation of Arabs in Israeli society (i.e. government and public institutions), only 10% of Jews supported the idea;
  • Similarly, 72.4% of Arabs but only 34.9% of Jews said they would support a Jewish-Arab political party that would advance the concept of shared life, with 55% of Arabs stating that such a party would improve their willingness to vote in elections;
  • Some 70% of Jews also said they were against allocating state land to increase the size of Arab communities; and
  • Only 13% of Jewish respondents said they would be "willing to have an Arab as a neighbor".

Mohammed Darawshe, Director, Center for Equality & Shared Society at Givat Haviva, said the results “show confusion among the public regarding the social integration of Arab citizens.  On the one hand there is a willingness to cooperate... on the other hand, there are many reservations about land and social integration.”

MK General (Ret.) Eyal Ben Reuven (Zionist Camp), who leads the Knesset Caucus on Shared Society, stated in the conference that "we are entering into a long process [which is] practical and possible. One thing is for sure: Jews and Arabs will have to find a way to live here together".

Further reading:

Majority Of Israelis Want Coexistence, Few Willing To Live Next To Arabs - Daniel K. Eisenbud – Jerusalem Post – 12.18.17

Just 13% of Israeli Jews say they would be happy with an Arab as a neighbour  - International Business Times - Paul Wright – 12.19.17

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