Shlomo Alegra
Shlomo Alegra

Changing Face of Israeli-Arab Society

Walking down near Azrieli Mall in Tel Aviv I once spotted a girl which looked like a nice Jewish religious girl until I heard her speaking Arabic on the phone with her mother. Walking around anywhere in Tel Aviv Arabic can be heard just as much as Hebrew and English .

For years many people across the left wing spectrum have made the accusations of Arabs in Israeli Society being the underdogs of an unequal economic system the rewards people who are Jewish and punishes those who are Arabs.

Another accusation by left wing activists has been that Arab Fertility rate is increasing so much that eventually the Jews in Israel will become a minority in their own country.

Both these lies can no longer be covered up since Arabs have taken advantage of the system Israel has put in place it is more common to see Arabs in Israel without a Hijab on their head and occupy high paying professions.

As reported by the Kan 11 channel in Israel Arab women and men are focusing a lot more on their careers rather than looking to settle down and have children. Just like many western women around the world their fertility rate has decreased while their participation in high paying jobs increased.

According to the Ministry of Societal Equality and the Institute of Israeli Democracy about 25% of the medical assistants are Arab workers, 19% are doctors, 16% are in science jobs, 7% are in Business and management while 5% are involved in architecture and engineering.

As the mother of one of the women being interviewed in the Kan 11 news reel said, ” In the past we were forbidden to travel to Jewish areas alone because people in our town were afraid and women were only permitted to study certain vocations that were seen as appropriate for women. After 12th grade women could learn to become teachers and nothing more, however everything started to change with the advancement of technology.”

Just going into any hospital or clinic in Israel it will be difficult not to be treated by an Arab nurse or doctor or the large amounts of Arabs who work in the high tech industry in Israel.

Arabs are now less likely to work below minimum wage that Israel has to give visas to citizens of the Philippines and Thailand to work in Farms across Israel. Such was the case that a few months ago I found myself volunteering in a farm on the border with Egypt and just about all laborers who were getting paid were Thai workers.

According to an article in Israel Today dated to April of this year the Israeli Parliament approved of a plan to give six million dollars over two years to help Arab towns and cities create Hi-Tech parks along with five million dollars to help create the infrastructure furthering the economic prosperity of the Arab sector.

According to David P. Goldman of the “Jewish Policy Center” explained in his article  Israel’s Demographic Miracle, “Just as remarkable is that fertility in most of the Muslim world has fallen below Israel’s, while the fertility of Israeli Arabs and Arabs in Judea and Samaria has converged on the Jewish fertility rate in Israel. At present fertility rates there is no risk that a non-Jewish majority will emerge between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. Not only has the so-called population time bomb disappeared in Israel; in large parts of the Muslim world, fertility has fallen below the Jewish fertility rate in Israel.”

Not only has Arab society changed to the point that their level of education has increased and their fertility has decreased but, they are also leaving their traditional Arab only cities and moving into either mixed or predominantly Jewish cities.

Movement of Arabs out of their traditional areas to cities where Jews are the dominant demographic group has led to Arabs embracing a Zionist narrative and even volunteering to join the Israeli Defense Force which is something that by law they are not obligated to draft.

Mohammed Zoabi is one such example because him and his mother left the city of Um El-Fahm for Nazareth Illt where he began to study at a Jewish school and is the cousin of Hanin Zoabi ( member of Parliament in Israel known for her anti-Zionist activities).

Kidnapping of the 3 teenagers in the Gush Etzion Junction forced Zoabi to make a video on YouTube telling the kidnappers to return the kids home. This led to outrage in his community that he eventually had to flee the country and live in Florida until the threat to his life was over.

Another Arab Yahya Mahamid started working in Jewish areas as a young teen, over time he developed friendships with Jews that led him to abandon his past as an Anti-Zionist religious Muslim and embrace Israel to the point he enlisted into the IDF.

Even though Zoabi and Mahamid might not be the norm for Arabs across Israeli society it may change and become a bigger trend in the near future since many Arabs are leaving their traditional cities and villages to escape the violence that plagues their cities.

Many professional academics are leaving Arab cities with their families to flee the violence to cities like Haifa and Tel Aviv because they say the police wont protect them in predominantly Arab areas. Many of the Arab children will end up going to predominantly Jewish schools where they will be exposed to Zionism and the IDF that eventually they will draft into the army and perhaps become confused about who they are because they will be torn between their Arab and Israeli identity.

Even though there is still a tendency of Muslims in Israel to become Islamic extremists like the several residents of Um El-Fahm who joined ISIS in Syria and now sit in an Israeli prison when they came back.

Overall their efforts to commit terror attacks will be near impossible because the Israeli Secret Service monitor even the slightest small email that may contain potential radical Islamist material and such a person will be heavily monitored for the rest of his life which is why Israeli Arabs are far less likely to be involved in a terror attack.

Arab Society in Israel is changing with an increase in education, a decrease in its fertility rate and a movement from their traditional cities into Jewish ones. Arab citizens of Israel in the near future may be less interested in trying to undermine the state and more interested in their economic success and even gain a pro-Zionist minority from its population willing to draft into the IDF.


About the Author
Shlomo was born in Miami, Florida in 1989 and moved to Israel in 2012. He holds a degree from Florida Atlantic University in Political Science and served in the IDF as a combat soldier in the Netzach Yehuda Battalion. After serving in the military Shlomo studied in Yeshivat Shavie Hevron where he lived in Hebron. He now lives in Kiryat Arba, is a proud reservist in the Golani Brigade, and is a blogger for the Times of Israel.
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