Study: Arab Teens Feel No Connection to the State

Israeli-Arab teenagers don't believe promises about workforce integration made by government officials and feel alienated from the state and its achievements, a new study shows.

The study, conducted by Mada al-Carmel - the Arab Center for Applied Social Research, was based on more than 1,000 responses to a questionnaire distributed among 11th- and 12th-grade Arab students in the Galilee and Negev, and in mixed cities like Haifa, Lod and Ramle. The Bedouin and Druze communities were not surveyed.

These teenagers, the researchers say, blame the establishment for not allocating the resources needed to help them integrate into the workforce or to provide them with career counseling.

Mtanes Shihadeh, a doctoral student and researcher for the center, said that with regard to identification with the state and a feeling of belonging, the answers were clear: 45 percent of those questioned replied that Israeli achievements in any field give them no feeling of pride. Another 13 percent said that such successes actually engendered negative feelings. Six percent said they were proud, while 30 percent said they were somewhat proud.

"This is evidence of how the Israeli authorities neglect the needs of young Palestinians who are citizens of the state, and the limited resources allocated to meet their needs," said Nadim Nashif, the director of Baladna - the Association for Arab Youth. "It's no surprise that these young people don't feel any identification with a state that ignores them and doesn't take their needs and ambitions into account and systematically discriminates against them," he said.

Only 33 percent of the respondents thought their high schools prepared them adequately for higher education. Asked what obstacles they faced in getting into university, 71 percent said the psychometric exam was the primary obstacle, while 40 percent cited "Jewish racism" as an obstacle. The study is to be presented at a conference tomorrow sponsored by Baladna, to be attended by Arab MKs and employment professionals.