Israeli Jews in mixed neighborhoods wary of their Arab neighbors – here’s why

Most Israeli Jews believe peaceful coexistence in mixed Arab-Jewish municipalities isn’t possible.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Israeli Jews are highly skeptical about the prospects for peace with their neighbors in mixed Arab-Jewish municipalities, a new poll has found.

According to a survey from Israel Hayom, the vast majority of Israeli Jews — 82 percent — believe that a new round of violent rioting in mixed municipalities could be even worse than the rioting seen in May 2021.

During last year’s war between Israel and Gaza, cities that had once been seen as beacons of Arab-Jewish coexistence — including Lod, Haifa, and Akko — became the sites of widespread antisemitic rioting.

Synagogues, along with Jewish homes and businesses, were vandalized and looted. Arson and brutal assaults perpetrated by Arabs left three Jews dead and hundreds more wounded.

These events continue to color the Israeli psyche, with an additional 69 percent saying that they agree with a statement that Arabs and Jews have “little to no chance” of peacefully living side by side in the same communities.

Notably, Arab-Israelis were more optimistic, with only 44 percent (25 percent fewer) saying they believe the chances for peaceful coexistence are low.

Forty percent said they believe there is a “good chance” that Jews and Arabs could continue living together in mixed municipalities.

Read  Terror tunnel found under UNRWA school in Gaza

In a conversation with World Israel News just weeks after the 2021 widespread rioting, Lod resident Ayelet-Chen Wadler expressed her hope for a rebuilding of trust between Arabs and Jews in her community. However, she said she was worried by a weak response to the violence from Israeli authorities.

“Not a single person in Lod was charged in the aftermath of the riots or the torching. Yes, they all walk the streets,” she said. “And we still hear the [local] Imam Sheikh Albaz in the mosque calling for more violence against the Jews.”

One month later, in June 2021, the Sheikh was arrested on charges of incitement and supporting terror.