A majority of Israeli Jews (58%) believe that there is apartheid in Israel today according to an opinion poll published by Haaretz this Tuesday. The poll has received wide attention in the international press and sparked a great deal of controversy.
The poll further finds that a majority of Israeli Jews would support a number of discriminating policies against Palestinians in Israel if the West Bank was formally annexed by Israel, with 69% objecingt to giving Palestinians the right to vote. However, only 38% supports annexation with 48% opposed.
The poll further finds support for discriminating policies in Israel regardless of an annexation of the West Bank. These included giving preference to Jews over Arabs in public jobs (59%), objection to Jewish children going to the same schools as Arabs (42%), and support for separate roads for Jews and Palestinians in the West Bank (74%).
The poll represents a new contribution to the ongoing debate over Israel and the apartheid analogy. Irrespectively of our position in this debate, we should ask ourselves what the consequences of such labeling are? Will labeling do anything to help solve the conflict, or will it simply contribute to increase polarization between Israeli Jews and Palestinians?
The situation in Israel-Palestine is obviously a cause for great concern. The fact that a majority of Israeli Jews believe that Israel is an apartheid regime and at the same time support discriminating policies against Palestinians highlights the magnitude of the situation.