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Some 40.5 percent of Israeli Arabs believe the Holocaust never occurred, according to the results of a University of Haifa poll released Sunday.

The survey shows that Holocaust denial among Israeli Arabs has become more prevalent in recent years. In 2006, 28 percent of Israeli Arabs polled denied that the Holocaust occurred.

The annual poll of Jewish-Arab relations, which was conducted by Professor Sami Samuha, also found that only 41 percent of Israel's Arab minority recognize the country's right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, as opposed to 65.6 percent in 2003.

Moreover, only 53.7 percent of the Israeli Arab public believe Israel has a right to exist just as an independent country, according to the poll, down from 81.1 percent in 2003.

"This radicalization in the positions of Arabs was caused by a series of factors such as the Second Lebanon War, the stalemate in the negotiations with the Palestinians, the failure to implement the conclusions of the Or committee, closing the case against the Border Police troops who shot dead the Israeli Arab protesters in October 2000, and more," Samuha said.

700 Israeli Arab men and women participated in the survey, which will be published in its entirety on Monday.