Poll: Just 39% of Israeli Arabs plan to vote in March elections

Over one-third of Israelis say they expect that the March 2021 elections will not change the political situation in Israel.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

As the Jewish state hurtles towards its fourth round of general elections in two years, many Israelis are feeling election fatigue.

The lack of motivation to participate in the democratic process is felt especially acutely in Israel’s Arab community.

According to a poll from the Israel Democracy Institute, just 39% of Arab citizens of Israel said they are planning to vote in the upcoming March 2021 elections.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has launched several outreach initiatives to win Arab votes for the Likud party.

“Just as I broke the Palestinian veto on relations with the Arab states, so I am breaking the Arab parties’ veto with the Arab citizens of Israel,” he reportedly said in a Likud internal meeting.

“I believe in [Zionist leader Ze’ev] Jabotinsky’s doctrine that all rights need to be given to every citizen in the State of Israel,” Netanyahu allegedly said. “We’re reaching out to Arab voters — vote for us.”

Netanyahu recently visited the Arab municipalities of Umm El-Fahm and Tira, and local media reported that Likud has reserved a slot on its list for an Israeli Arab educator, Nail Zoabi.

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Jewish Israelis were more likely than Arab Israelis to say they plan on voting, with 69% saying they’re sure they’ll head to the polls.

Even with the announcement of several new parties poised to become powerhouses on their respective ends of the political spectrum, including the New Hope party headed by Likud breakaway Gideon Saar on the right and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai’s ‘The Israelis’ party on the left, many Israelis are skeptical about the chances of this election breaking the country’s long-standing political stalemate.

Over one-third, or 34.5% of Israelis said they believe it does not matter which party they vote for – they expect that the March 2021 elections will not change the political situation in Israel.

Fifty-six percent of Israelis – the majority polled – expressed pessimism about the future of democracy in Israel. Forty-seven percent of Israelis said they would not vote for the same party they voted for in the March 2020 elections just one year ago.

Israelis gave the government high scores for 2020’s peace and normalization agreements, with 57% saying the government did an excellent or good job with foreign policy.

However, just 24% said the government did a good job managing the coronavirus pandemic. 12% said the government had done a good job of uniting various social sectors, and 12% said the government had strengthened people’s trust in their leaders.

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The survey polled 763 Israeli adults, with those surveyed accurately representing the Jewish state’s demographics. 612 of the participants answered questions in Hebrew and 151 answered in Arabic.