(ZENIT News – Asia News / Jerusalem, 11.20.2023).- The war in Gaza against Hamas seems to strengthen the sense of belonging and attachment of the Israeli population to their country, especially among Arab Israelis, limiting the desire to migrate, reversing a trend that until now drove a substantial number of people to leave in search of better living conditions.
This is what emerges from a survey – the fourth since the start of the conflict in the Strip – conducted by the Viterbi Family Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research, a study group linked to the Israel Democracy Institute.
Data were collected on 5 and 6 November 2023, with 502 men and women interviewed via the internet and by phone in Hebrew and over a hundred in Arabic, with a confidence level of 95 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Israeli army announced the death of a female soldier held hostage in Gaza, effectively confirming a video previously published by Hamas showing her alive and later dead.
According to the Palestinian group, the soldier was killed by friendly fire, allegedly dying during an Israeli air raid. Analysts point out that this is the first time that Israel has confirmed a Hamas claim since previous reports of the killing of dozens of hostages had never been confirmed.
The survey examines – among others – possible links between Hamas’s attack and the government’s focus on judicial reform rather than security, the timing of negotiations, the position of those who manage the conflict, Gaza’s future after the war, optimism about the future and feeling part of Israel, choosing to stay despite past and current difficulties.
In terms of sense of belonging, among both the Jewish and Arab populations, the survey found the highest figure since the researchers first asked the question in 2003.
In both groups, but especially among Arabs, there was a sharp increase compared to the measurement carried out in June 2023. Within the Arab sample, the share of Christians and Druze who feel part of the State of Israel (84 per cent) is significantly higher than that of Muslims (66 per cent), but overall, the sense of belonging remains a consistent majority in all religious groups.
In terms of age, the study shows interesting elements: the greatest increase in feeling part of the State of Israel and its problems is recorded among the youngest, 18 to 24 (June, 44 per cent; November, 70 per cent).
Among Arab respondents who feel part of the State of Israel and its problems, 35 per cent are optimistic about the future of the country, compared to 4 per cent of those who do not feel part of the state.
In light of the trauma and difficulties experienced in October, more than a month after the October 7 attack, the reaction is no longer one of flight or migration.
On the contrary, to the question (asked seven times since 2015), “If you could receive American citizenship or citizenship of another Western country, would you prefer to move there to live or would you prefer to remain in Israel?” the vast majority prefer to stay (total sample, 77 per cent; Jewish sample, 80.5 per cent; Arab sample, 59 per cent). Only a minority wants to move abroad (out of the total only 11 per cent; Jewish sample, 8 per cent; Arab champion, 26 per cent).
The share of those who prefer to emigrate has declined among both Jews and Arabs. Among Jewish respondents it is now at its lowest level in the last decade, while for Arabs it must be compared to the significant increase recorded in June in the previous survey.