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About 70% of Arab Israelis report affinity for Israel amid Hamas war

Arab Israelis in Zarzir collecting donations for IDF soldiers amid war in Gaza (Photo: Facebook)

A record number of Arab Israeli citizens report having an affinity for Israel amid the nation's ongoing war against the Hamas terror organization, according to a new Israeli Democracy Institute poll.

The survey indicated that a solid majority, some 70% of Arab Israelis, say they feel part of the Jewish state and its challenges. This reportedly constitutes a 20-year high in polling that concerns the complex relationship between the Arab Israeli minority and the Jewish state of Israel.

In comparison, less than half of Arab Israelis – 48% – reportedly stated having an affinity for Israel, as late as in June.

Not surprisingly, a whopping 96% of Israeli Jews responded that they feel a stronger identification with the Jewish state since the Hamas Oct. 7 massacre.

While the poll noted record-high numbers of people identifying with the state among both Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel, members of the Arab minority may be far less optimistic about the future than Israel’s Jewish majority citizens.

Less than one-third of Arab Israelis – 27% – expressed optimism about the future, a five-month low.

By contrast, some 72% of Israeli Jews reportedly expressed optimism about the future, representing a 20-point increase from June, when only 52% of Israeli Jews said they were optimistic about the future.

The pessimism is thought to have been fueled by deep divisions within Israeli society resulting from the controversial judicial reform issue. However, following the unprecedented Hamas massacre in southern Israel on Oct. 7, Israeli society has displayed a remarkable sense of unity and focus on the defeat of the Iranian-backed Hamas terror regime in the Gaza Strip.

The Arab Israeli community was also affected by the unprecedented Hamas invasion and assault. Hamas terrorists murdered dozens of Bedouin Arab Israelis in south Israel. At the same time, Arab Israelis have also contributed to the nationwide effort to assist families affected directly by the Hamas atrocities.

Arab-Israeli Bedouin hotel owner Sami Alkarnawi has offered free accommodations for some 3,000 displaced Israeli families who were evacuated from their homes after the lethal Hamas attack. Alkarnawi, who was raised in the Bedouin community Tel Arad, owns, and manages hotels in Mitzpe Ramon, a small town in the heart of the Negev Desert overlooking the dramatic Ramon Crater.

He said he had a feeling that something bad was going to happen but believed it would take place with Hezbollah along the Israel-Lebanon border in the north.

"A week before the war started, I sensed that something was brewing and on Thursday I told a friend about it. I told him: 'I can feel a war coming either from Lebanon or from Hezbollah.' I didn't mention Gaza and he said, 'Relax, we have a good army and good intelligence systems.'"

Once Alkarnawi realized the scope of the Hamas attack, he decided to assist families in need without any financial support from the state authorities.

"About two hours after the rocket fire started, I realized that we were facing a very serious attack, and we started offering hotel accommodation to people in the south. I wrote a message on Facebook saying: Come and take refuge with us for free, we have 5 hotels available,” he stated.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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