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Nearly half of Israeli Jews support expelling Arabs

Almost half of Israeli Jews believe the country's nearly two million Arab citizens should be expelled from Israel, according to a survey. Eighty percent of Arabs also said they were discriminated against.

Forty-eight percent of Israeli Jews strongly agreed or agreed to the statement "Arabs should be expelled or transferred from Israel," the poll released on Tuesday by the non-partisan Washington-based Pew Research Center found.

The findings of the survey also suggest both Arabs and Jews view the prospects of a peace process and a two-state solution as an increasingly distant prospect.

Only 43 percent of Israeli Jews said a way can be found for Israel and a Palestinian state to co-exist. Fifty percent of Arabs, meanwhile, said a two-state solution is possible, a steep drop from 2013 when 74 percent said a Palestinian and Israeli state could co-exist.

While 42 percent of Israeli Jews surveyed said illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank condemned by the international community make Israel safe, three in 10 disagreed and a quarter said it didn't matter.

The issue of illegal settlements in the West Bank has been a major stumbling block to peace talks, which collapsed in 2014 with the Israeli military operation against Gaza.

Discrimination against Arabs

The survey also found that nearly seven in 10 Arabs said the Israeli government is not making a sincere effort toward peace while 40 percent of Jews said the same. Nearly nine in 10 Jews said the Palestinian leadership is not making an effort to reach peace, compared to 40 percent of Arabs.

In addition, about eight in 10 Arabs complained of discrimination against Muslims, the largest religious minority among the Arabs, while 79 percent of Jews questioned said Jewish citizens deserved preferential treatment.

Israeli Arabs make up about 19 percent of Israel's population of 8.4 million. As citizens of Israel, they are considered separate from Palestinians in the West Bank.

The survey also addressed societal divides between secular and religious Jews, political ideologies, the compatibility of democracy and Jewish law and social issues.

cw/jil (Reuters)

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