Arab Society in Israel Program

This is a joint program of the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center for Shared Society and the Center for Democratic Values and Institutions.

IDI's program on Arab society aims at mitigating the tensions between Israel's Jewish majority and its Arab minority and create a shared, inclusive society. The program seeks to address the social, cultural, economic and legal barriers to the integration of Israel's Arab citizens into Israeli society and its economy. On the basis of its in-depth research, the program team devises and promotes policy recommendations, and works closely with government decision-makers to ensure their adoption and implementation.

Among other initiatives, the program publishes an Annual Statistical Report which provides comprehensive and detailed data on the situation of the Arab Israeli population in a broad range of life arenas, along with an in-depth survey of the relationship between Arab and Jewish citizens, and focuses on issues such as developing a model of shared workspaces for Israeli employers, advancing the inclusion of Arab citizens in government decision-making, and upgrading the quality of employment among Arab workers. The program team organizes forums for dialogue and debate between Jews and Arabs, and Arabs and state institutions.

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    Dr. Arik Rudnitzky


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    Dr. Rudnitzky has been researching Arab Israeli issues for almost two decades. His fields of expertise cover political, national and social developments in Israel's Arab society; Jewish-Arab relations; and government policies on Arabs in Israel.

    Rudnitzky holds PhD degree from the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at Bar-Ilan University, as well as MA (magna cum laude) and BA degrees in Middle Eastern History from the Faculty of Humanities and an MBA degree from the Faculty of Management, Tel Aviv University.

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    Dr. Muhammed Khalaily


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    Holds a PhD from the School of Political Science at the University of Haifa on the subject: "The role and survival of primordial structures in modern politics: A Neo-Institutional Analysis of Clan Continuity in Arab Politics in Israel."

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    Dr. Ahmad Badran


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    Areas of expertise: Sociology of education, inequality, social stratification, mobility, social class, ethnicity, educational choice, and youth. Badran holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology at the University of Haifa (January 2021). The title of his doctoral research is "Stratification Consequences of Educational Choices: Elementary School Choice by Arab Parents in Israel" (under the guidance of Prof. Meir Yaish).

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    Hamudi AbuReesh

    Research Assistant

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    Hamudi Abureesh is a research assistant in the Arab Society Program in the Democratic Institutions and Values center at The Israel Democracy Institute.

    He is also a Master’s student in the Department of Islam and Middle East at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

    Currently, he is writing a thesis dissertation supervised by Prof. Liat Kozma (Hebrew University) and Prof. Gadi Algazi (Tel-Aviv University). He focuses on Palestinian students at the Hebrew University between the years 1948-1967 from a social history perspective.

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    Maisam Salem

    Research Assistant

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    Adv. Lital Piller

    Research Assistant

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    Lital Piller is a second-year research master’s student at Tel Aviv University. Her research focuses on the representation of the Arab-Palestinian minority in the land administration institutions in Israel. 

    She holds a bachelor’s degree in law and a bachelor’s in government (both with distinction) from Reichman University. Until 2017, she worked as a lawyer in the Administrative Law Department at the Spigelman Koren Zamir & Co. law firm. There, she provided legal advice in the field of administrative law, including local government, tenders, contracts, and litigation in administrative, commercial and civil matters. She was involved in drafting tenders and contracts for clients in the public sector, providing legal opinions, accompanying, and participating in tender committees, and representing clients in legal proceedings in various courts, including administrative courts.

    In addition, she works as a teaching assistant and research assistant in the field of constitutional law, intellectual property, and international law.

Arab-Israeli public officials are being increasingly targeted by criminals, hoping to get their way through threats, extortion and force ahead of Tuesday's local elections. Running for office shouldn't cost people their lives.

Reducing the possibility of invalidating legislation and the rest of the initiatives will further undermine the protection of the rights of the Arab minority in Israel, whose trust in the judicial system has steadily decreased in recent years - but is still high in relation to trust in other institutions.

Arab politics in Israel consists of two interconnected levels: One relates to the configuration of the parties ahead of the elections; the other – to Arab voting behavior on Election Day. Election results in Arab society depend on the interaction between these two levels.

This review analyzes voting patterns among Arab citizens in the elections for the 25th Knesset, held on November 1, 2022. The graphs and tables are based on an analysis of the final results, as published by the Central Elections Committee.

Dr. Arik Rudnitzky breaks down the Arab vote to the 25th Knesset elections – it seems that Ra’am's gamble paid off and they emerged the big winner.

Will the Arab public’s belief in Knesset elections in general, and in the Arab political lists in particular, will be strengthened. The Arab voter may overcome unjust policies by the government, but not internal crises. Dr. Rudnitzky reviews the main political and ideological streams in Arab society in Israel, ahead of the November 2022 elections

Diplomatic briefing with IDI President Yohanan Plesner and Researcher Dr. Arik Rudnitzky on Israel’s fifth national elections in less than four years. The briefing focused on the electoral crisis, the state of Israeli democracy as well as the latest developments regarding the political parties and voting patterns of Arab Israelis.

The disintegration of the Joint List is arousing diametrically opposite reactions from the two big blocs of the Israeli political spectrum. How will this new political reality play out in the upcoming elections?

The expected drop in voter turnout among Arab citizens and their representation in Knesset, regardless of who wins or loses these elections, poses a real threat to the political system as a whole.

Before the next violent outbreak, let’s quickly address the needs of mixed cities.

Arab society in Israel is being revolutionized by the rise in the standard of living, life expectancy and education, along with the decline in fertility rates, changes to family structures, and an increasing desire to realize individual aspirations at the expense of collective values.

Closing the gender gap is crucial to closing social and economic gaps overall - Arab men and women must work together towards this goal

This study aims to provide an up-to-date snapshot of the current situation in mixed cities alongside a description of trends in Israel’s mixed cities over time, in five closely related fields—welfare, education, higher education, employment, and crime—by presenting data collected over a period of time, as a critically important input to sound policymaking.

Richard Pater from Bicom and IDI expert Dr. Arik Rudnitzky discuss the social, political and economic situation of the Arab citizenry in Israel - economic programs in the new budget for the Arab sector, the current situation over the military draft for young Arabs, government actions to tackle the level of crime in Arab towns, as well as the political dynamics between the United Arab List (in government) and the Joint Arab List (in opposition).

A new government plan aimed at increase the integration of Arab Israelis tries something new – bringing together political leaders, civil servants, and representatives of civil society to collaborate in its formulation and implementation.

Arabs ostensibly are present, but in reality are absent from the highest levels of the ministry, where decisions are made.

Israel is at a shortage of teachers that is forcing schools to take drastic measures, but the Jewish schools are still not hiring Arab teachers.

Israel’s responses in each of these two arenas, internally in Israeli cities and externally vis-à-vis Gaza, may have dramatic consequences for the future. The ultimate goal of Hamas is to drag the “Arabs of 1948” (Israel’s Arab citizens) into the conflict. Even today, it is important to note the growing desire of the majority of Arab citizens to integrate in Israeli society, and to drive a wedge between them and the leaders in Gaza

The horrific violence that has erupted over the past few days between Israel's Jewish and Arab citizens came as a surprise to many - not so much to the Arab residents of the 'mixed cities'.

The recent clashes in a capital where even the smallest spark can set its streets ablaze are a direct result of the city's long-term neglect of its disadvantaged Palestinian residents, among whom poverty rates are double that of Jewish Jerusalemites.

The recent elections proved, once again—especially against the backdrop of the Joint List’s meteoric success a year ago—the weakness of the parties’ base on the Arab street.

Anarchy reigns in Arab localities, terrorizing law-abiding residents who fear for their lives - it absolutely essential to put Arab families’ lost sense of security on the national agenda. The time has come to join hands

Arab women are closing the gap in education – but this achievement is not reflected in the job market. What can be done?

A new IDI study on NEET (Not in Employment, Education, or Training) finds close connection between academic education and NEET in young adulthood

Dr Arik Rudnitzky analyzes the changing voting patterns in the Arab community ahead of Israel’s fourth general election in two years.

Arab citizens have the right to feel that their security is protected by the government. This right should be respected and protected declaratively and in practice.

Arab Israelis want to see their representatives in the Knesset and are willing to go out to vote to ensure this happens. Kafr Qassem could be the test case for the larger Arab community who are more likely to vote if they feel that their Knesset members are representing them faithfully.

Upon the opening of the new academic year a special national survey conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute and the Aharon Institute for Economic Policy found 22% of Arab students are considering quitting or taking a break from their studies, compared to 10% of Jewish students.

After three contentious election campaigns, Israel's new government has been sworn in. IDI's experts weigh-in with their recommendations on the most important issues on the agenda. Dr. Nasreen Hadad Haj-Yahya and Ayman Saif on the urgent challenges facing the 35th government to address the significant economic gaps that between Israel's Jewish and the Arab populations.

The people had their say in these elections. A majority of the Arab Israeli public (65%) turned out to proclaim a resounding vote of confidence in the Joint List

Has the "Deal of the Century" injected energy into Israel's third election and perhaps provided an incentive for Arab Israelis to turn out in higher numbers than September? Arik Rudnitzky uses the village of Bartaa as a possible case study.

When the PM smeared Arab Knesset members, those 'allies' who urged us to go and vote had a responsibility to protest. They didn't.

Arab parties can surge if they shake off the old politics - a significant number of Arabs who stayed home in April will vote if they are persuaded their leaders have integrity

The real story of the April 2019 elections took place outside the polling booth. In the Arab sector, the Movement to Boycott the Knesset Elections, a grassroots group based on Arab young adults and university students, working on the social networks with a shoestring budget, conducted an effective campaign with a simple and catchy slogan: “Boycott: The People’s Will.” This message stood in utter contradiction to the motto of the elections in 2015: “The Joint List: The People’s Will.”

Will Arab politicians take advantage of the second chance that the new elections have presented? Runing in a Joint List and reaching out to their younger voters - 60% of which didn't vote in the last election, would be the right place to start.

Are these encouraging numbers the harbinger for positive change in Israeli society?

Arab turnout for the vote was the lowest in a decade – only 49% participated in the elections for the 21st Knesset – Arik Rudnitzky summarizes

After abysmal Arab voter turnout, it’s time for public action. Arabs in Israel are desperate for a new discourse and leaders who connect with them -- what they don't want is more ideology

Will Arab elected officials adopt a pragmatic and matter-of-fact approach and overcome the obstacles standing in the way of establishing political partnerships among them, in order to encourage Arab voters to go to the polls on Election Day?


The fifth in a series of articles and videos prepared by the Israel Democracy Institute in the run-up to April 9, explaining and critiquing what goes on during an election period

A review of political and ideological streams in Arab society in Israel - towards 2019 elections.

The five-year plan for the development of the Arab community was a giant step forward towards the socioeconomic advancement of Israel’s Arabs, nevertheless the current election campaign is going to be the acid test: Is the Israeli government serious about integrating the country’s Arab citizens into the broader society, or merely in promoting the Arab economy in light of its importance for the country’s overall prosperity?



Nasreen Hadad Haj-Yahya’s research finds that shared work spaces in Israel benefit both Jews and Arabs alike. Moreover, working together reduces alienation, erodes stereotypes, and contributes to the Israeli economy.

Comparitively low representation of Arab residents in the municipal government of “mixed” cities adversely affects their trust and sense of belonging as well as their affinity in the municipality.

The majority of the Arab public want to be included in the State’s decision-making processes, and support Arab ministers serving in the government.


The National Economic Council has repeatedly stated that the human capital potential of Arab society could be a significant source of economic growth, and is a resource that has not been developed.

Arab women - around 10% of the total population of Israel - barely participate in the workforce, far below the employment rate of Arab or even ultra-Orthodox men. Why?


On the complex relationship between Arabs and Jews in Israel and the secret to bringing down the walls of fear and prejudice

Rabin's legacy was equal representation at decision-making levels, fair regulation of land and services in Arab towns and equality as a right that’s guaranteed to all.

A state that is proud of its identity has nothing to fear from granting all its citizens equality.

How both faiths can use their common threads and customs as a means to connect, dialogue and cooperate.

The state and its Arab leadership, not only the political leadership, must work together to bring as many Arab citizens as possible into the decision-making echelons.

The north presents real opportunities for Israel’s society and economy. Turns out that the solutions have been in plain sight all along.

Now you know what it's like to feel marginalized and unequal in Israel. Arab citizens know that all too well. That's why we must join forces.

Israel’s leadership appears to have diverted from Theodor Herzl’s path. Instead of striving to create equality and a common ground, it is doing everything in its power to incite and divide for the sake of a few more votes.


Recent findings by the Central Bureau of Statistics on the Israeli labor market reveal that 80% of the country's Arab citizens are employed in jobs with difficult physical conditions. Watch a Research Reel about the NEET phenomenon among Israel’s Arabs.

Haredim and Arabs must be integrated into society and economy to take the start-up nation to the next level.

The author proposes a number of policy recommendations that could help Israel’s Arab population, and could be applicable to any society that suffers from socioeconomic segregation and related challenges. This article was first published by Jmore.

Instead of accepting the Arab local authorities’ proposal for a dialogue and the preparation of a comprehensive joint strategic plan for permitting construction in the Arab locales, the government is continuing to destroy Arab homes in Israel ... and there is no solution on the horizon.

Although one need not agree with the positions held by Israel’s Arab citizens, it can’t be denied that they constitute an independent, moderate voice – and a promising political middle ground on the Palestine- Israeli conflict. This article first appeared in The Jerusalem Post.

Few stories illustrate the unfeeling and aggressive attitude of the Israeli government toward the Arab-Bedouin population of the Negev as well as the case of Atir-Umm al-Hiran. In this op-ed, which was first published by JTA, Eli Bahar and Thabet Abu Ras of the Abraham Fund discuss Israel's obligations toward its minority citizens.

The integration of talented Arab employees into Israel’s hi-tech sector could relieve the human-resources shortage for employers. Encouraging Arabs to enter the hi-tech industry could improve their economic situation significantly, which would reduce inequality and contribute to a reduction of social tensions in the Arab community.

Following the publication of the Poverty Report, Dr. Sami Miaari points out the large percentage of Arab Israelis that live in poverty. He says the current situation requires a new strategy and economic investment on several levels simultaneously. This article first appeared on Times of Israel.

Arab elected officials have disappointed the public time after time with their lack of professionalism in how they lead their constituents toward political change. (This article was originally published by the Jerusalem Post.)

Nasreen Hadad Haj-Yahya and Eli Bahar say the biggest difference between the security situations in 2000 and now is the profound lack of understanding between the two sides. This article was first published on the Times of Israel website.

Eli Bahar says we must not accept this state of affairs as a fait accompli. He reminds that we can change the situation even if it seems that it has almost reached the point of no return.

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer explains the importance of the fifth meeting of IDI's Police and Society Forum, which was dedicated to the question of partnership and transparency in the relationship between the Israel Police and Arab society.

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Att. Talya Steiner warn that the veteran's benefit bill, which is intended to extend benefits to those who have contributed to the State, discriminates against Israel's Arab citizens, who are exempt from military service in Israel.

Should the State always present its position in a unified voice or should state institutions with specific expertise sometimes be allowed to present their views separately? Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Attorney Talya Steiner address this question In an op-ed in Haaretz.

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Attorney Talya Steiner warn that the proposed veterans benefits bill, which would give preferential treatment in employment, higher education, and housing to those who have served in the Israeli army, gives license to discriminate against Israel's Arab minority.