Cutting through the bullshit.

Friday 30 March 2007

What racism?

The latest Centre against Racism poll, conducted in December 2006, reveals an increase in anti Arab racism among the Israeli Jews surveyed. One interesting attitude that I didn’t notice reported in the media last year is that 55% of Israelis feel that “Arabs and Jews should be separated at entertainment sites”.

So who says Israel isn't racist?

Jimmy Carter, for one, keeps insisting, Israel is a ‘wonderful democracy with equal treatment of all citizens whether Arab or Jew’.

Meanwhile, the proportion who would not live in the same building as an Arab has increased from 68% in 2005 to ‘over 75%’ last year.

Over half of the Jewish population in Israel believes the marriage of a Jewish woman to an Arab man is equal to national treason.

About 40 percent of participants agreed that “Arabs should have their right to vote for Knesset revoked”. The number was 55 percent lower in the previous survey.

As I read it, that means that the proportion has more than doubled since 2005. The proportion who regard Arab culture as inferior has increased from 35% to 38%.

According to Yoav Stern reporting the same poll data in Ha’aretz, when they hear Arabic spoken,

30 percent said they reacted with hatred. In contrast, last year only 17.5 percent said they feel hatred…

Unfortunately, there appears to be a problem with the Center against Racism site, but I have emailed them to see if I can get more detailed results. If so, I may find there is more to say about the data.

Meanwhile, it’s not just the attitudes of Israeli Jews that evidence the apartheid nature of Israeli society. Covering the release of the 2004-2005 Sikkuy Report, Stern writes,

The life expectancy of Jewish citizens in Israel is four years higher than that of Arab citizens, according to the equality index published today by Sikkuy: The Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality in Israel. The data also reveals that the mortality rate for Arab infants under the age of 12 months is double that of their Jewish counterparts.

The data suggests that the Arab minority in Israel suffers worse conditions that those of the Afro-American minority in the U.S. or the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland. This, according to similar indexes published there.

The same report also detailed aspects of discrimination against Palestinian Israeli citizens in employment.

Among the Jewish population aged 15 and above, 57 percent work, compared to only 39 percent among the Arab citizens. One major contributing factor for this discrepancy is the fact that only 17.6 percent of Arab women work, compared to nearly 55 percent of Jewish women.

A closer evaluation also shows that the Arab population is employed at very high rates in less profitable jobs, such as construction. The average wage in construction is NIS 6,287, and the rate of Arabs employed in that field is 4.6 times higher than that of Jews.

On the other hand, in very profitable fields, the numbers of Arab workers is significantly lower than that of Jews. For example, in banking, finance and insurance, in which the average wage is NIS 13,500, there are 3.7 times more Jews than Arabs.

More recent data from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, in these two tables in the Statistical Abstract of Israel 2006, shows that the Employment/Population Ratio (EPR) for Jews in 2005 was 53.08%, while that for Arabs was 34.26%. What this means in real terms is that according to official Israeli government statistics, over 65% of the Palestinian population aged 15 and over does not have even one hour of paying work per week. In contrast, over 53% of Jews in that age group did have paying work. It is worth pointing out that both professional soldiers and conscripts, all drawn from the Jewish population, are not among those 53% even though they do have paying work of a kind.

The most recent available statistics from the Labour Force Survey, for the quarter ending in December 2006, show an EPR for Jews of 54.17%, even higher than the 2005 average. Unfortunately, it was not possible to disaggregate a comparable EPR for the Palestinian population, but the EPR for non Jews was 37.99%. In December 2006, Arabs comprised 82.08% of the non Jewish population. My guess is that the 18% of the non Jewish population who are not Arabs, that is, ‘population not classified by religion in the Population Registry, and non-Arab Christians’, brought the EPR for the entire non Jewish population up and that the Arab EPR remained at around 34%.

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