Religious bigotry

Given the decades of conflict between Arabs and Israelis, it is perhaps not surprising, though still regrettable, that young people will grow up with racist attitudes towards those they perceive as ‘the other’. A new survey of attitudes among Israeli Jewish high schools shows a disturbing level of bigotry towards Israeli Arabs and that religion, rather than being a force for good and a driver towards peaceful coexistence as its supporters like to claim, only accentuates those attitudes.

Nearly half of Israel’s high school students do not believe that Israeli-Arabs are entitled to the same rights as Jews in Israel, according to the results of a new survey released yesterday. The same poll revealed that more than half the students would deny Arabs the right to be elected to the Knesset.

In response to the question of whether Arab citizens should be granted rights equal to that of Jews, 49.5 percent answered in the negative. The issue highlighted the deep fault lines separating religious and secular youths, with 82 percent of religious students saying they opposed equal rights for Arabs while just 39 percent of secular students echoed that sentiment.

The secular-religious gap was also present when students were faced with the question of whether Arabs should be eligible to run for office in the Knesset. While 82 percent of those with religious tendencies answered in the negative, 47 percent of secular teens agreed. In total, 56 percent said Arabs should be denied this right altogether.

The survey also delved into the issue of military service and following orders that are deemed politically divisive.

While an overwhelming majority (91 percent) expressed a desire to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces, 48 percent said they would not obey an order to evacuate outposts and settlements in the West Bank.

Here, too, researchers note the religious nexus. Of those who would refuse evacuation orders, 81 percent categorize themselves as religious as opposed to 36 percent who are secular.

Religion poisons young minds.


  1. left0ver1under says

    It’s to be expected when a religion claims superiority over others and talks about “god’s chosen people”. Those who see others as lesser beings will never treat them as equals.

    It’s all the more ironic (and moronic) considering that Palestininians and jews are the same people with the same DNA. They’re closer to each other than nearly every other pair of ethnic groups in the world.

  2. FredBloggs says

    Isn’t the very existence of Israel based on the premise that it is a land given to them by a supernatural being? And that they have an absolute right to that land, even to the extent that they may commit genocide to take and hold it?

    Nationalism and religion are one and the same in Israel.

  3. stonyground says

    The root of almost every conflict must in some way be about one section of society being treated unfairly. Usually this is for no good reason other than that people tend to be idiots. If in every case were people are treated unfairly for no good reason that inequality could be abolished, how many of our problems would simply disappear?

    Oh and this.

  4. Anat says

    No. Ben-Gurion and many of Israel’s founders were non-theists. Israel’s founding was based on 19th and early 20th century European nationalistic ideals. Israel’s founding was based on the idea that Jews were a people just like many of the peoples in Europe that were asserting their identities during the post-Napolean era, and as such had the right of self-determination. And that the right place where Jews can exercise their self-determination was their historical homeland.

    See Israeli Declaration of Independence

  5. MNb0 says

    Last time I checked Israeli-Arabs had the same nationality as Israeli-Jews. You probably should replace it by ethnicity.

  6. Anat says

    Being ‘God’s chosen people’ isn’t in itself a claim to superiority. It is a claim that God pays more attention to them, both positive and negative. The Jewish belief in choseness means Jews get punished for things others do not, have to follow rules others do not, and once in a while, when things are particularly bad, God saves them at the last minute from the disaster of the time. That said, Jews at various times believed aspects of their lifestyle made them culturally or morally or intellectually superior. Whether we speak of early rabbis portraying Jews as more sexually pure than non-Jews or more modern claims about the Jewish culture of learning raising intelligence and intellectual achievements of Jews.

    It’s all the more ironic (and moronic) considering that Palestininians and jews are the same people with the same DNA. They’re closer to each other than nearly every other pair of ethnic groups in the world.

    The only ones who doubt that (TMK) are the branch of antisemites who seek to delegitimise Israel by claiming that Ashkenazi Jews are descended of the Khazars. Zionists had several hypotheses regarding the ethnic origins of the Palestinians. One of these was that they descended from Jews who converted to other religions in Medieval times.

  7. Anat says

    Israeli Arabs are considered more of a national minority than an ethnic minority in Israel. The reason secular people want to deprive them of rights is because their loyalty isn’t trusted. But they are distrusted to such a degree that they aren’t given a chance to demonstrate such loyalty. They are not called on for military duty, and then their lack of service is used against them. (And this situation makes it very hard to make laws to recruit the Haredi population.)

  8. says

    In earlier times, not all Jews were monotheistic. By calling themselves “God’s chosen people,” they meant that their god, YHWH, had chosen them. Other tribes had been chosen by other gods. The Torah is full of psalms about how (the Jewish) God is totally badass and way more awesome and powerful than all the other tribes’ gods. Pretty standard tribal religious belief.

  9. says

    Isn’t another hypothesis that modern Palestinians are descendants of Arab invaders from Arabia and North Africa who destroyed Palestine and killed or converted all the Jews there? I imagine such a hypothesis would be popular among right-wing Israelis, because it would allow them to deny Palestians’ historical connection to their land.

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