Some stats and facts about the national rift*:
Demographics: As of 1997, of the toal population of Israel (5,759,400), 80.5% (4,630,400) is Jewish and about 19.48% (1,122,00) is Arab (if you take into account the population of East Jerusalem). The vast majority (844,500) of the arab population is Muslim, a much smaller part (183,200) is Christian, and the smallest part (96,300) is Druze. The relative size of the non-Jewish population has been slowly on the rise since the 1960s. The Arab population is statistically younger: 46% of Arabs are below the age of 17, while only 31% of Jews are. Over a quarter of Israel's minors are Arab. This suggests a very high natural reproduction rate among the Arab population.
Education: Education among the Arab population is much better now (or at least was back in 1997. Personally, I think it got much better, but I'm saying it only because about 75% - my guesstimate - of the students of my local college are Arab. There weren't nearly as much six years ago. I'm living just under the Galilee, where 60% of Israel's Arab population resides) than 50 years ago. Only 8.3% have no formal education (compared to 49% in 1952), and 7% have higher education (compared to less than 1% in 1952). However, compared to the Jewish population, the Arab education stats are pretty dismal: only 49.4% of the Arab graduates of the high-schools of 1996 are legible for a diploma, compared to 67.4% of Jews. In higher education, things are worse. Only 7, 3, and 3.5 percent of first, second, and thirds degree students (respectively) are Arab (the rest being mostly Jews). This is a result of the Arab population being greatly disadvanteged by the Ministry of Education. The government invests in its Jewish students as much as twice more than in it's Arab ones. 35% of Arabs drop out of school by the age of 17 (10% in Jews), 18.5% by the age of 15 (2% in Jews).
Economy and Social Services: A substantial part of the Arab citizens of Israel are living in poverty. 30.3% of Arab families are considered poor, compared to 13.1% of Jewish families. 71% of towns with an unemployment rating of more than 10% are mostly Arab. Arab towns are also greatly lacking in government funds; they receive only 12.8% of the funds for neighberhood reconstruction, 9.3% of funds for development from the Health Ministry, and 2.6% of the funds given away by the Religions Ministry. Yes, Israel has a Ministry of Religions. Allow me to be subjective here: that is fucked up beyond belief (NOTE: Israel's fearless leader, Ariel Sharon, promises to close it down during his next term. And pigs will fly). Also, Arab towns get only a fraction of Social Services funds that is gotten by Jewish towns. Sometimes Jewish towns get up to four or five times as much as Arab ones.
In conclusion? Arab people in Israel have no reason to be happy. I probably would have been calling terrorists "freedom fighters" too, if it wasn't for the fact that they weren't fighting for some megalomaniac sociopaths, and killed people they didn't know and who never bothered them.
Now I'll just call them bad people.
*Read: the Jewish-Arab one.
Main source:Being Citizens in Israel - a Jewish Democratic Country, Varda Ashkenazi and Bilha Alferson, Ministry of Education, 2000. This is my civics book. Despite being printed by Israel's infamous (in Israel) Ministry of Education, it is highly objective, in my opinion (an oxymoron? a pun?). Then again, this the book we learn with, and my (private) school prides itself in being
secular and liberal (they celebrated communist holidays up until about 15 years ago), and I have no idea what public schools teach, and I'm pretty sure it's not being taught in the religious education system(s).
Constructive criticism is welcomed and very much required.
Kudos go out to my current favourite demi-deity, GrouchyOldMan
, for spellchecking and a suggestion. Or two.