According to a recent poll, 88.5% of Israeli Jews say they would rather be citizens of Israel than any other country. Given how many Israelis seem to dream of moving to New York, this surprised me, but the real shocker of the poll is that 73% of Israeli Arabs also agreed with the statement.

Oddly, on the very same day that an article comes out announcing this encouraging news, another one also appeared with Dr. Dan Schueftan, a senior Israeli academic, that “there was no way of accommodating the demands of Israeli-Arabs, short of the destruction of Israel and its replacement with an Arab state.”

His comments come on the heals of a document recently released by Israeli-Arab leaders entitled “The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel” (available for your reading pleasure in PDF here).

Schueftan’s position is that this is a problem for which there is no solution adding “The Palestinian national minority in Israel has a consensus view demanding recognition by the Jews of their exclusive guilt and their own lack of legitimacy, as well as an agreement to destroy the national Jewish project.”

The same national Jewish project they would apparently like to live in more than any other country.

So, ehhh…. which is it?

About the author

Laya Millman


  • I don’t see any shocker in that, and no contradiction at all.

    Most Israeli-Arabs are a lot better off here than they are in, say, a dictatorship like Syria, or, for that matter, almost any other neighboring Arab country (for example, there’s the issue in Iraq, as CK pointed out earlier).

    Despite any discrimination here in Israel, and a difficult social/economical situation, they are still better off here (My point is not to open a discussion about their situation, but just to point out that it is better relative to the neighborhood). They live in a democracy, they can protest, they can vote. They have a strong political lobby, and its getting stronger as time passes.

    So, as Dr. Dan Schueftan points out, it is a problematic situation for Israel. But there is no surprise here, and no paradox that they want to live here, in this national Jewish project they mean to destroy.

    Sad, but true.

  • As the Jerusalem Report pointed out in covering this story, what they want is simple: a Palestinian state for the Palestinians, right next to a binational state for the Jewish and Arab Israelis. No need for a Jewish state, if they can help it.

    However, this document is, strangely enough, in many ways a precursor to what Lieberman has been saying. If the Arabs want some form of ethnicity or nationality based separation from Jews within Israel, and particularly if they’re pushing for elements of autonomy, they open the door for the type of physical separation that Lieberman has been discussing.

  • This is surprising to me as well.

    Whenever I tell my Israeli friends that I am considering aliyah, their initial response is something along the lines of: “Why would you want to do that? Life is better in America. Israel is too crazy.” Then they cite the unemployment rate and the ongoing conflict there, among other things.

    I think American Jews often have a romantic, idealistic view of Israel that Israelis do not have because they grew up there.

  • This was surprising to me as well.

    Whenever I tell my Israeli friends that I’m thinking about making aliyah, their first responses is always: “Why? Life is better in America!” Then they cite the unemployment rate and ongoing conflict in Israel.

    Perhaps American Jews have a romantic, idealized view of Israel that Israelis don’t have because they grew up there.

  • Sam – It’s all about perspective. If you are looking solely at how you can materially benefit, then your friends are right, and life is generally better in America. But that’s a very “ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country can comfortably provide you with” attitude. Yeah – Israel isn’t as easy as America, but I find value in being part of building a nation, not just reaping the benefits of it.

  • Sam, I experienced the same attitude when living in Canada. I grew up in Israel, but lived in Canada for quite a while. When I decided to go back (be a Toshav Chozer) people asked me the same questions.

  • Laya,

    I completely understand. If I had to describe how I feel, I’d say that America has my head but Israel has my heart. So I’m torn.

    Oh, and there’s the whole thing about the student loans I’d need to pay off before making aliyah…