Report: 44% of Israeli Jews Support Rabbis' Edict Forbidding Rentals to Arabs in Safed

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A new survey has revealed that 44% of Jewish Israelis support rabbis' calls to refrain from renting apartments to Arabs in Safed. Less than half - 48% - of Jews in the country oppose these calls.

The revealing survey was conducted by the Harry S. Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah (PSR).

An Israeli flag flies high in Tel Aviv, December 28, 2010.Credit: Reuters

Dozens of Israel's municipal chief rabbis signed on to the religious ruling, targeted at non-Jewish Arabs, African refugees and migrant workers. The letter came on the heels of a call by the chief rabbi of Safed urging Jews to refrain from renting or selling apartments to non-Jews.

The survey reported that 40% of Israeli Jews support a bill currently being proposed in the Knesset that would allow smaller communities to reject candidates who want to move to the village on the basis of their supposed 'social suitability'. 48% reportedly oppose the bill.

According to the survey, 55% of Israeli Jews support a proposed bill that would require foreign nationals that apply for Israeli citizenship to swear loyalty to Israel as a "Jewish and democratic" state. 27% of Israeli Jews object to the requirement.

52% of Israeli Jews oppose a proposed bill that would prohibit women from obscuring their faces in public places. However, 10% of Jews and 3% of Arabs support the law if it only affects Muslims, and 30% of Jews and 9% of Arabs support the law if it is applied across the board.

Interestingly, the survey revealed that more than 70% of Palestinians believe that a majority of the Israeli public supports the aforementioned laws.

Against the Arab League peace plan

The jointly conducted survey was carried out by Professor Yaakov Shamir of the Truman Institute and the Faculty of Commuications at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Professor Halil Shaqaq, head of the PSR Center in Ramallah. The project received support from the Ford Foundation of Cairo and the Adenauer Foundation of Jerusalem and Ramallah.

Other findings of the survey include that 54% of Israelis support, and 41% oppose, direct talks with Hamas, if that would be necessary to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians.

32% of Israelis support, and 61% oppose, the Arab League peace plan, sometimes referred to as the Saudi peace plan. Among Palestinians, 54% support the deal and 42% oppose it.

Among Palestinians, 49% support or strongly support, and 50% oppose or strongly oppose an Israeli evacuation of most of the West Bank, excepting settlement blocs that would consist of 3% of the territory. Among Israelis, 49% support the creation of a Palestinian state on this basis, while 43% oppose it.

In the absence of negotiations, Palestinians prefer to turn to the UN

41% of Palestinians support, and 41% oppose, a negotiated solution to the matter of the Palestinian refugees in which the ability to return to Israel would be limited, but Israel would make a promise of financial compensation. 36% of Israelis support this proposal, while 52% of Israelis oppose it.

In the absence of direct negotiations, 31% of Palestinians prefer to turn to the United Nations Security Council, asking of them to recognize a Palestinian state. The next most-supported response to the absence of negotiations is a renewed call to arms against the State of Israel. 16% of Palestinians each support organizing non-violent struggle, and the dismantling of the Palestinian Authority.

Among Israelis, 54% are worried that they or their relatives could be attacked by Arabs during their everyday routines, while 43% are not worried. Among Palestinians, 75% are worried that they could be attacked, or their property confiscated or house bulldozed, by Israeli forces, while 25% are not worried.